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Solomon Pena, a Republican who lost an election to become a New Mexico state lawmaker, has been arrested in connection to the drive-by shootings of four Democratic officials’ homes or offices in Albuquerque.
Since the first attack on Dec. 4, local authorities have been working to apprehend those involved in targeting Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, then-Bernalillo Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, state Sen. Linda Lopez and the office of state Sen. Moe Maestas. All of the targets are Democrats.
“It is traumatizing to have several bullets shot directly through my front door when my family and I were getting ready to celebrate Christmas,” Barboa, who has been a county commissioner since January 2021, told Albuquerque TV station KRQE. “No one deserves threatening and dangerous attacks like this.”
SWAT raids home of failed Republican candidate who claimed election was “rigged”
Police say Republican Solomon Pena was the “mastermind” behind the attacks after losing his election in November by a wide margin, (26% to 74%). Pena falsely claimed the election was “rigged,” according to the Guardian. He was arrested Monday evening by SWAT officers.
“This type of radicalism is a threat to our nation and has made its way to our doorstep right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “But I know we are going to push back, and we will not allow this to cross the threshold.”
After losing an election to longtime Democratic state Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, police claim Pena approached multiple local officials to complain the election was rigged.
Yet New Mexico’s state Canvassing Board unanimously certified the results, and no evidence of widespread voter fraud has been discovered in either the 2022 or 2020 elections.
Speaking at a press conference, Deputy Commander Kyle said at least five people were involved in the drive-by shootings, including Pena. Authorities are accusing Pena of paying others to carry out the majority of the crimes, while he himself allegedly pulled the trigger in at least one incident.
Police were able to identify the Republican after combing through phone records, witness interviews, and bullet casings found at the scenes.
Lopez, who has been a state senator since 1997, said three of the bullets shot at her home passed through her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom.