A former Republican state House candidate was detained by Albuquerque police in connection with previous shootings at the residences of Democratic lawmakers.
After a SWAT standoff in Southwest Albuquerque on Monday afternoon, Solomon Pena, 39, was taken into custody, according to Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina at a news conference on Monday night.
In front of a picture of Pena sporting a red hoodie that reads “Make America Great Again” in front of two Trump flags, Medina told reporters, “It is thought that he is the genius behind this and that was orchestrating this.”
Albuquerque police on Monday arrested the man they say is the 'mastermind' behind a recent string of shootings targeting Democratic lawmakers' homes. The sus…https://t.co/SqZAV0VLem
— Senator Hughes (@SenatorHughes) January 17, 2023
With the commencement of the state legislature tomorrow, Medina added, “We are extremely glad that we were able to get this individual into custody and to perhaps bring a little relief to those that were affected and all of our lawmakers.”
According to authorities, Pena is accused of planning with four other individuals and paying them to shoot at the residences of two county commissioners and two state lawmakers.
Pena had a direct hand in the last shooting, according to investigators, who also claimed that five persons were involved in the conspiracy. Guns, mobile phone and electronic data, surveillance footage, and numerous witnesses are among the evidence against Pena, according to the investigators.
The shootings are still under investigation.
Pena was apprehended after a suspect who has not yet been named but is thought to be connected to at least one of the shootings was detained last week.
Adriann Barboa, a commissioner for Bernalillo County, was shot eight times at her house in the early days of December, according to the police. A week after the initial shooting, someone allegedly opened fire at the home of former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley.
Days later, state representative Javier Martinez’s home was targeted.
A number of shots were also fired at the residence of state senator Linda Lopez, who served as the primary sponsor of a 2021 bill that would have overturned New Mexico’s restriction on the majority of abortion operations, and in the vicinity of state senator Moe Maestas’ office in the city center.
A bill to establish new criminal sanctions for threatening state and local judges was co-sponsored by attorney Maestas last year. It failed to pass.
According to officials, nobody was hurt in any of the shootings.