The Albuquerque Police Department has arrested Solomon Pena, the Republican candidate for the House seat in South Valley’s 14th District, in connection with the shooting at the home of a local Democratic politician, the Albuquerque Police Department announced Monday afternoon.
“Pena, an unsuccessful legislative candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with and paying for four other men to shoot at the homes of two county executives and two state legislators,” Chief Harold Medina said. .
The APD has been investigating six shootings from Dec. 4 to Jan. 5 in which bullets were fired near the homes or other offices of Democratic elected officials.
On December 4, County Executive Adriann Barboa was shot eight times at his home in southeast Albuquerque. On December 11, more than a dozen bullets hit the North Valley home of County Executive Debbie O’Malley. Sometime in early December, the home of State Rep. Javier Martinez was shot at, but the damage wasn’t discovered until an investigation into other shootings was announced. On Jan. 3, gunshots rang out in the home of State Rep. Linda Lopez, and three bullets passed through the bedroom of her 10-year-old daughter, who was still sleeping.
The APD is also investigating whether shootings near Raúl Torres’ campaign office during his campaign for state attorney general and near the office of state Senator Antonio “Mo” Maestas were also linked to the string of shootings.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said Monday that police do not currently have any evidence linking the group to the shootings.
Around 3.30pm – following a SWAT standoff near ABQ BioPark – officers can be seen arresting a man wearing glasses and a sweatshirt and taking him to a police car at 14th Street and Coal SW forward.
Before the arrest, police could be heard ordering “Solomon Pena please come out with hands up, we’ve surrounded the place.” Pena lost the incumbent Democratic House of Representatives by more than 3,600 votes in the November election Miguel P. Garcia.
The address Pena provided to the New Mexico secretary of state while running for office matched the high-rise residential building where the SWAT standoff took place.
Pena’s candidacy came under scrutiny this summer, when Garcia challenged him in court seeking his disqualification after he was convicted in 2008 of stealing large quantities of merchandise from several large retail stores, according to reports. It was a “smash and rob” scheme.
Pena served nearly seven years in prison.
Pena remained on the ballot after District Judge Joshua Allison ruled that a state law barring felons from holding public office until pardoned by the governor was unconstitutional. State constitutions allow lawmakers to make laws about felons’ voting rights and their ability to run for office, but cannot distinguish between the two by imposing additional requirements, he said.
Pena lost the election by more than 3,600 votes, receiving 2,033 votes to García’s 5,679.
Pena, 39, has posted frequently on his Twitter account, insisting he did not lose and that the election was rigged.
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