State Watch

Former GOP New Mexico state House candidate indicted in shootings targeting elected officials

FILE – The sculpture “Tug ‘O War” sculpture by artist Glenna Goodacre sits at the entrance to the New Mexico State capitol building in Santa Fe, N.M., on Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)

A grand jury in New Mexico has indicted a former Republican candidate for state legislature on 14 criminal charges in relation to conspiring with and paying four men to shoot at the homes and businesses of elected officials, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Monday.

Solomon Peña was arrested on Jan. 16 over what officials called “politically motivated” shootings. Peña was the Republican candidate for New Mexico’s District 14 in November and subsequently lost to incumbent Democrat Miguel P. Garcia.

Peña was indicted on 14 counts, including three counts of criminal solicitation to commit a shooting at a dwelling or occupied building, two counts of conspiracy to commit a shooting at a dwelling or occupied building, one count of shooting at a dwelling or occupied building and two counts of transportation or possession of a firearm or destructive device.

Police said that they believed Peña was the “mastermind” behind the four shootings that took place between Dec. 4 and Jan. 4 at elected officials’ homes. The police also said that Peña was with another suspect in a car after the latest shooting took place, where police said they found a gun with ballistics indicating that it was related to the shooting.

Police have previously said no one was injured in any of the four shootings.

“We want to thank the Albuquerque Police Department and our other law enforcement partners for bringing Mr. Pena to justice,” Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman said in a statement Monday. “An attack on elected leaders is an attack on our democracy.”

Tags Albuquerque Police New Mexico New Mexico shootings Solomon Peña

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