A man from New Mexico has admitted to firing shots at the residences of multiple Democratic officials, alleging that he was hired by an unsuccessful Republican candidate to carry out the attacks. Solomon Peña, who campaigned for a seat in the state legislature in 2022, refutes any connection to the incidents. His trial is scheduled for June.
In November 2022, Peña stood as the Republican nominee for the District 14 seat in the New Mexico State House. He suffered a defeat by the Democratic incumbent, Michael Garcia, who secured a substantial 73.64% of the votes. Garcia has consistently clinched victory with over 70% of the vote in every State House election since 2002. Despite this, Peña alleged electoral fraud and declined to concede, expressing intentions to explore his alternatives.
Following the election, a troubling trend emerged: Shots were fired at the residences of multiple Democratic officials. On December 4, 2022, incoming Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa became a target, as bullets struck her front door and windows, causing damage.
On December 8, gunfire was directed at the residence of incoming State House speaker Javier Martinez. Retiring Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley’s house was targeted on December 11, followed by an incident on January 3 involving shots fired at State Senator Linda Lopez.
On January 16, 2023, Peña was taken into custody and accused of contracting four individuals to target the residences of the officials. Among them, Demetrio Trujillo recently admitted guilt to charges including conspiracy, election meddling, and firearm usage. Trujillo asserts that Peña orchestrated the assaults and was personally involved in the shooting at Lopez’s residence.
Peña’s attorney refutes the accusations, labeling them as mere allegations. Law enforcement authorities suspect Peña provided the firearms utilized in the shootings, including a Glock handgun equipped with a drum magazine. Speculation suggests a possible connection between Peña and the gunmen through their time served in prison. In 2008, Peña was convicted of a smash-and-grab robbery, serving nearly seven years in incarceration.