A Republican candidate who lost his bid for a seat in New Mexico’s state legislature has been arrested in connection with a series of drive-by shootings that targeted the homes of Democratic politicians.
Solomon Pena, 39, who claimed the election he lost was “rigged,” is accused of orchestrating shootings at the homes of four elected officials, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.
In a news conference Monday, Albuquerque Police chief Harold Medina said Pena had been arrested at his home.
Medina said Pena was the “mastermind” behind the four shootings that took place between December and early January either at or near the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that eight shots had been fired into a county commissioner’s home on Dec. 4, and on Dec. 11 at least 12 bullets had hit another commissioner’s home.
On Jan. 3, three bullets fired into a state representative’s home had gone through her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom, the paper reported.
Police said they had evidence Pena had fired some shots. Pena is accused of paying four men to carry out the shootings.
According to police, after the November election, Pena complained to local and state officials that the election in the race for the House District 14 seat had been rigged.
Pena lost the election in November by 48 percentage points, The Guardian reported.
“This type of radicalism is a threat to our nation and has made its way to our doorstep right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” the city’s mayor, Tim Keller, said.
“But I know we are going to push back, and we will not allow this to cross the threshold.”
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