An unsuccessful candidate for New Mexico’s House was arrested Monday in connection with a string of shootings targeting Democratic politicians’ homes, Albuquerque police said.
Solomon Pena, 39, is accused of “conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Media said during a Monday press conference.
Pena lost the November election by more than 3,600 votes to incumbent Democrat Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, who garnered nearly 5,700 votes.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Pena had retained an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
The shootings began in early December when eight rounds were fired at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, police said. Days later, someone shot at former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley’s home.
Technology that can detect the sound of gunfire also indicated shots in the vicinity of New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez’s former campaign office. Police found no damage.
Multiple shots also were fired at the home of state Sen. Linda Lopez — a lead sponsor of a 2021 bill that reversed New Mexico’s ban on most abortion procedures — and in a downtown area where state Sen. Moe Maestas’ office is located. Maestas, an attorney, co-sponsored a bill last year to set new criminal penalties for threatening state and local judges. It didn’t pass.
Pena was arrested Monday afternoon following a SWAT standoff at an address that matched the one he provided to the New Mexico Secretary of State when running for office, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Albuquerque police told Fox News Digital Monday evening its SWAT Unit was executing a second search warrant at a second location but did not provide further details.
Authorities said last week that a suspect believed to be linked to at least one of the shootings was in custody, but they declined to release his name. Chief Medina said the man was being held on unrelated charges and that detectives were still awaiting the results of several outstanding search warrants filed in the investigation.
“We’re just waiting to get a return on some of the information to ensure that everything we have, that the case we’re building is as strong as possible and to see what other aspects are involved,” Medina said.
Authorities declined to say what charges the man was being held on.
They did confirm, however, that officers seized a firearm linked to the suspect that was used in the shooting at a home, but have yet to determine whether it was connected to any of the others.
No one has been injured in the shootings, which come amid a rise in threats to members of Congress, school board members, election officials and other government workers around the nation.
In Albuquerque, law enforcement has been struggling to address back-to-back years of record homicides and persistent gun violence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.