Tuesday 17 January 2023

Failed NM Political Candidate Paid For Shootings At Lawmakers’ Homes, Police Say

 A failed New Mexico political candidate allegedly paid men to shoot up the homes of other lawmakers after he lost his 2022 election bid, according to police.

Solomon Peña, who ran for the state House as a Republican, was arrested on Monday in connection with a string of shootings that the Albuquerque Police Department said targeted the homes of various Democratic lawmakers, according to the Alburquerque Journal. The victims include two county commissioners and two state lawmakers, all Democrats. No one was injured.

“Peña, an unsuccessful legislative candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of 2 county commissioners and 2 state legislators,” said Police Chief Harold Medina.

Police said five people were involved in the string of shootings, at least two of which were allegedly committed by others and one of which was allegedly committed by Peña. His alleged involvement was deciphered, in part, using cell phone records.

Peña has been relatively quiet since he failed to win the 14th district, which has historically been Democratic but was recently redrawn. His last tweet from his campaign account was posted on November 15. It said he was “researching my options.”

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Peña has been in trouble with the law before, having served nearly 7 years in prison for theft beginning in 2008. His conviction was the subject of scrutiny during the campaign, and his political opponent, Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, tried and failed to have him disqualified over it. Garcia ended up winning by 3,600 votes.

Peña disputed the election results, and according to the Associated Press, confronted some county and state lawmakers over the results. The conversations didn’t go anywhere, and the shootings started in the following weeks.

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