Solomon Pena, a Republican candidate who ran an unsuccessful legislative campaign in 2022, has been arrested by the Albuquerque Police Department in connection with the shootings at local Democratic politicians’ homes, the police chief announced Monday afternoon.
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Albuquerque Police called Pena the “mastermind” behind the shootings.
Police announced that Pena contracted individuals to carry out at least two of the shootings.
Pena himself was present and allegedly fired a weapon at one of the other shootings, police have determined.
“Pena, an unsuccessful legislative candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators,” Police Chief Harold Medina said in a tweet.
Police said they were able to make the arrest in part based on ballistic evidence, according to NBC.
“I know for us, APD essentially discovered what we had all feared and what we had suspected,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller added on Monday in a press conference. “These shootings were indeed politically motivated.”
The shootings, which allegedly began in December and continued through January, allegedly targeted a combination of homes and offices belonging to two current and former Bernalillo County commissioners, as well two state senators. No one was injured in the apparent attacks.
Who is Solomon Pena?
Solomon Pena is an American politician who ran for election to the New Mexico House of Representatives to represent District 14.
He lost in the general election on November 8, 2022.
Mr Peña, 39, has a previous criminal record, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, of 19 felonies including burglary, larceny, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and receiving stolen property.
He ran on a hard-right platform and lashed out at what his campaign website describes as the “multifaceted global forces of erosion such as globalization” and “the demonic theories of the Globalist Elites and their foreign counterparts.”