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Former Republican candidate Solomon Pena arrested in New Mexico congressional shooting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Republican legislative candidate, angered by last November’s election loss, made unsubstantiated claims that the election was “rigged” against him, officials say. was arrested Monday in connection with a series of drive-by shootings at homes. Number of Democrats in New Mexico’s largest city.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina held a press conference Monday evening hours after SWAT officers arrested Solomon Pena at his home.

Medina turned Peña into what appears to be a politically motivated criminal conspiracy that led to four shootings at or near the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators in early December and early January. He described himself as a “mastermind”.

Pena lost to incumbent Rep. Miguel P. Garcia in November. Miguel P. Garcia is a longtime Democrat in the 14th House District of the South Valley. Garcia he won by 48 percentage points, or about 3,600 votes.

Police allege that election denier Pena had the election rigged against him, even though there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in New Mexico in 2020 or 2022. , said he approached county and state legislators after his defeat.

New Mexico’s campaign committee unanimously approved the results of the November election.

Mayor Tim Keller said, “This kind of radicalism is a threat to our country, and it’s here on the doorstep of Albuquerque, New Mexico.” I will not allow you to exceed it.”

Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said at least five people were involved in the shooting, including Pena. According to Hartsock, Pena allegedly paid others to carry out at least two shootings before “Penna himself” was alleged to have “triggered” one of the crimes. have been accused.

Police said they used a combination of cell phone records, interviews with witnesses and a bullet case collected at the lawmaker’s home to identify Pena as a “major” suspect. His arrest comes a week after he first announced that police chief Medina had identified a suspect in the shooting.

A lawyer for Pena who could comment on the allegations was not listed in prison records Monday night.

Amid mounting threats to members of Congress, school board members, election officials and other government officials across the country, no one was injured in the shooting. In Albuquerque, law enforcement is struggling to cope with years of documented murders and persistent gun violence.

Hartsock said he expected additional arrests and charges in the case, but declined to give details, citing ongoing investigations. He said he was taken into custody on Monday night.

A criminal complaint outlining the exact charges against Pena was set to be released in the coming days.

Police say the shootings began in early December when eight shots were fired at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adrian Balboa. it was done.

When news reports about the shooting began to surface, State Rep. Javier Martinez inspected his property and found shooting damage. Police believe the shooting occurred in early December.

Then, in the first week of January, there was a shooting at the home of state Senator Linda Lopez, who is a major sponsor of the 2021 bill that would rescind most abortion bans in New Mexico. .

Lopez said in a statement that three of the bullets passed through her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

Police were investigating two more shootings. One near the former campaign office of New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torres, and his other in the office of state senator Antonio Maestas. However, police department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said Monday that the shooting does not appear to be related to the incident.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Former Republican candidate Solomon Pena arrested in New Mexico congressional shooting

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