Speed Reads


Former New Mexico House candidate arrested in connection with shootings at Democrats' homes

A former New Mexico House candidate was arrested in Albuquerque on Monday, accused of conspiring to shoot at the homes of four Democratic lawmakers in December and January.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina announced on Monday evening that Solomon Peña, 39, has been "accused of conspiring with and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators." A Republican, Peña ran for House District 14 in the November election, and lost to the Democratic incumbent, Miguel Garcia.

The shootings took place Dec. 4 at Bernalillo County Commissioner Adrian Barboa's home, Dec. 8 at New Mexico House Speaker Javier Martinez's home, Dec. 11 at outgoing Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley's home, and Jan. 3 at state Sen. Linda Lopez's home. No one was injured.

Police said Peña, who served nearly seven years in prison after being convicted in 2007 of burglary, larceny, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and receiving stolen property, was arrested in a SWAT raid, and is one of five suspects in the conspiracy.

"The evidence we have is not only firearms, it's also cell phones and electric records, surveillance video, and multiple witnesses inside and outside this conspiracy that have helped us weave together what occurred," said Kyle Hartsock, deputy commander of Albuquerque Police's Criminal Investigations Division. "On the last shooting, we now have evidence too that Peña himself went on the shooting and actually pulled the trigger on at least one of the firearms that was used."

Police also revealed that after Peña lost the November election, he went "uninvited" to the homes of Barboa, O'Malley, and Lopez, and "provided them with documents that he said indicated fraud in the election results." Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller called the shootings "politically motivated" and an example of "right-wing radicalism," which is a "threat to our nation."