Solomon Peña, Albuquerque Shooting Suspect, 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

solomon pena

Twitter/Solomon Pena Solomon Pena.

Solomon Peña is a former Republican legislative candidate in New Mexico who is accused of conspiring with four other men to shoot at the homes of four Democratic elected officials in Albuquerque, according to Albuquerque police.

“APD has arrested Solomon Peña for the recent shootings at local lawmakers’ homes,” police tweeted on January 16, 2023. “Peña, an unsuccessful legislative candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of 2 county commissioners and 2 state legislators.”

According to a campaign press release, Pena, a Republican, launched a failed bid for legislature last November using the campaign slogan, “New Mexico deserves a 2nd chance.”

Democratic Representative Miguel P. Garcia, an incumbent, defeated Pena 73.6% to 26.4% in the November 2022 election, according to Ballotpedia, which reported that Pena ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said in a January 16, 2023, news conference that a SWAT team took Pena into custody earlier that day.

“It’s believed he is the mastermind that was behind this and that was organizing this,” Medina said in the press conference.

In a January 9, 2023, press release, police announced that they arrested a suspect in connection with one of the shootings and had confiscated a firearm; they did not name that suspect. In the January 16 press conference, police said they had pieced together what they labeled a “conspiracy” through multiple technologies.

Altogether, there were six shootings under investigation, according to News Nation Now, which reported that all of the possibly targeted politicians are Democrats. However, in the January 16 press conference, police said Pena and the other men are only accused in four of them.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Solomon Pena, a Republican Candidate for New Mexico’s House, Tweeted Recently That He Supports Donald Trump, Writing, ‘I Stand With Him’

On Twitter, Pena was vocal about his support for former President Donald Trump and also indicated, as of November 15, 2022, that he had not conceded his own race.

On November 15, 2022, Pena tweeted, “Trump just announced for 2024. I stand with him. I never conceded my HD 14 race. Now researching my options.” He posted a photo showing him next to a Trump flag and wearing a “Make America Great Again” red sweatshirt.

On November 13, 2022, he tweeted, “This is one of the last pictures I have of the Jan 06 trip. I lost that phone at the Trump rally in Phoenix, July 2021. Make America Great Again!”

His Twitter page describes him as, “Republican Candidate for New Mexico House District 14 (Downtown ABQ, Barelas, South Valley, Old Town, y más).”


Police make arrest after standoff1 arrested after SWAT standoff outside Downtown Read more at abqjoural.com abqjournal.com/2565126/1-arrested-after-swat-standoff-outside-downtown.html2023-01-16T23:43:04Z

According to an Albuquerque police news release, the “first shooting occurred Dec. 4, 2022, at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa in Southeast Albuquerque. Someone shot 8 rounds at 4:41 p.m. at Commissioner Barboa’s home.”

The police news release said:

The second shooting occurred Dec. 11, 2022 at the home of then-Bernalillo Commissioner Debbie O’Malley in the North Valley. More than a dozen gunshot impacts were identified on walls and the house.

The third shooting occurred Jan. 3, 2023, at the home of State Sen. Linda Lopez in Southwest Albuquerque. At least eight shots were fired at her home after Midnight.

Anyone with information about any of the shootings is asked to call police at 505-242-COPS or Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP.

The fourth shooting occurred outside the home of incoming New Mexico House Speaker, Representative Javier Martínez, according to KRQE-TV.

According to the January 5 press release, police were also investigating a shooting near a downtown law office where a state senator, Moe Maestas, works.

They then added another shooting to the list under investigation, announcing in a news release that “multiple shots were reported in December at the former campaign office of Raul Torrez, who was elected as New Mexico Attorney General.”

However, in the January 16 press conference, Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said authorities have no evidence to connect Pena or anyone connected to him to the Maestas and Torrez office shootings, which were picked up on Shotspotter notifications.

Nobody was injured in the shootings,” police wrote in the press release.

Anyone with information “about any of the shootings is asked to call police at 505-242-COPS or Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP,” police wrote in the release.


2. Solomon’s Opponent Sued to Keep Him Off the Ballot Because of a Previous Criminal Conviction for ‘Smash & Grab’ Robberies

solomon pena

Twitter/Solomon PenaSolomon Pena

According to The Albuquerque Journal, Garcia, Pena’s opponent, went to court to disqualify Pena from running because Pena was convicted in 2008 “of stealing large amounts of goods from several big box retail stores in a reported ‘smash and grab’ scheme.”

The newspaper reported that Pena had served “nearly seven years in prison” in that case, but District Judge Joshua Allison allowed him to stay on the ballot when he ruled that a state law “barring felons from holding office unless they are pardoned by the governor is unconstitutional.”

According to the press release from his campaign, Pena announced that the judge had “ruled that the challenging of Pena’s candidacy is unconstitutional.”

The release continued:

Incumbent, Rep. Miguel P. Garcia both sued to remove Solomon Pena- as well as passed the legislation to restore citizenship for reformed felons – that allows Solomon Pena to run for office. Solomon Pena reflects the hopeful future of Albuquerque’s HD-14 to move beyond the lackluster 20+ years under Miguel Garcia.

Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said in the news conference that, after November, Pena contracted a person to commit two of the shootings for cash.

He said police are still investigating whether the other suspects “were even aware who these targets were.” He said that there is evidence that Pena went on the last shooting and pulled the trigger. Two firearms were recovered, Hartsock said in the news conference.

He said that Pena was placed under arrest and accused of “helping orchestrate” and participate in the four shootings, either personally himself or at his request.


3. The Mayor Said the Shootings Were About a ‘Right-Wing Radical’ Who Is an ‘Election Denier’

solomon pena

Twitter/Solomon PenaSolomon Pena

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said in the January 16 news conference that police had discovered “what we had all feared and what we had suspected. That these shootings were indeed politically motivated. That has basically been confirmed by this investigation.”

He said the shootings were “about a right-wing radical, an election denier.”

Gallegos said in the January 16 news conference that Pena had complaints about his election, believing it to be “rigged.” He approached the targeted officials before the shootings, claiming there was fraud, Gallegos said. They were puzzled and surprised, and it led “to quite an argument,” Gallegos said. “That played into this.”

Keller confirmed in the news conference that Pena had just run against a Democrat in November. “These shootings were orchestrated,” the mayor said. “They were dangerous attacks.”

Keller said in the news conference that the shootings were an attack on Democracy.

“This type of radicalism is a threat to our nation,” said Keller. He said authorities in New Mexico would “push back.”

He called the suspects “dangerous criminals.”

On November 7, 2022, Pena tweeted that his opponent relied on “rigging,” writing, “The only reason these folks will go vote tomorrow is because I just visited their South Valley house. I am out getting real votes. Miguel has to rely on rigging. Make America Great Again! Latinos para Trump!”


4. Solomon Pena Wrote About Public Safety on His Social Media Account & Railed Against the Media

Pena tweeted in support of community safety. “I called 911 today while door knocking- I came across a woman passed out in bushes,” he wrote. “Thankfully @abqfire and @ABQPOLICE were on the scene soon. This is a reminder that community safety takes all of us working with first responders to make #ABQ safer. @NewMexicoGOP @GarciaHolmes4NM.”

He also tweeted that the media were “corrupt.” In another tweet, he wrote, “The Democrats of NM wrongly support Biden’s misguided energy policies.”

In the earlier press conference, the mayor stressed that there is a difference when attacks target elected officials.

He said in that news conference that the shootings were “rattling for so many people.” Elected officials are “fundamental to how we run in this case our state and our county,” the mayor said in the news conference.

He said in the news conference that elected officials deserve to do their jobs “as part of American democracy without fear,” especially without fear in their homes.


5. Solomon Pena Wrote That He Has a Degree in Political Science

According to his campaign press release, “Solomon Pena is a resident of Albuquerque and is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a degree in political science.”

Only Pena’s name was released. Police said in the January 16 news conference that the other four suspects remain under investigation.

Medina said Albuquerque police have a positive relationship with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that allowed them to get firearm shells tested.

Hartsock said in the January 16 press conference that a “multitude of different technologies” helped police develop five suspects “inside this conspiracy.”

Cell phones, surveillance video, firearms, and multiple witnesses both “inside and outside this conspiracy” make up the evidence, he said in the press conference.

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