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Former GOP candidate arrested in shootings at homes of Democratic New Mexico elected officials

Albuquerque police arrested a former Republican state House candidate in connection with recent shootings at the homes of Democratic lawmakers.

At a news conference on Monday night, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina announced that Solomon Pena, 39, was in police custody following a SWAT standoff in Southwest Albuquerque Monday afternoon. 

"It is believed that he is the mastermind behind this and that was organizing this," Medina told reporters in front of a projected picture of Pena wearing a red hoodie that reads "Make America Great Again" in front of two Trump flags. 

APD arrests suspect in shooting at lawmakers’ homes.

Posted by Albuquerque Police Department on Monday, January 16, 2023

"We are very grateful that we were able to get this individual into custody and to hopefully bring a little relief to those that were affected and all of our lawmakers, especially with state legislature starting tomorrow," Medina said. 

Pena is accused of conspiring with and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of 2 county commissioners and 2 state legislators, police said. 

Investigators said that five people were involved in the conspiracy and that Pena was directly involved in the final shooting. Evidence against Pena includes firearms, cell phone and electronic records, surveillance footage and multiple witnesses, investigators said. 

The investigation into the shootings is still ongoing. 

Pena's arrest comes after an unidentified suspect believed to be linked to at least one of the shootings was in taken into custody last week.

The shootings began in early December when eight rounds were fired at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, police said. Days later, state Rep. Javier Martinez's home was targeted, and a week after the initial shooting, someone shot at former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley's home, police said.

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.

No one was hit in any of the shootings, authorities said.

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