(Featured photograph provided by Roberto E Rosales/Albuquerque Journal/ZUMA/REX/Shutterstock)
Recently, New Mexico Republican Solomon Peña was arrested by authorities for hiring, and participating in, the shootings of four homes.
Sources say that Peña likely had been angry after losing the election for a seat in the state legislature to incumbent Rep. Miguel P. Garcia by a ratio of 26% to 74% last November, so he wanted to take revenge. “These shootings were indeed politically motivated,” stated Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. However, before he had escalated this far, he had reportedly approached the homes of two county commissioners and one state senator. Peña had also brought some paperwork, claiming that he had actually won the election and that it was all part of a big conspiracy. However, he failed to provide any evidence that any election fraud or other irregularities as he claimed actually happened.
It was at this point that he enlisted the help of Demetrio Trujillo and José Trujillo, two former criminals with a troubled past as well as the help of two brothers. Authorities believe that Peña, being an ex-felon himself, could have possibly met one of his conspirators in the same prison. He paid the men as well as supplied some of the guns that would eventually be used in the shootings.
The attack took place over several days, with the first target being Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa’s home, which was shot at multiple times on December 4th. Next was incoming state House Speaker Javier Martinez’s home, which was shot at on December 8th. The third was former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley’s home on December 11th. And finally was State Sen. Linda Lopez’s home on January 3.
However, the last shooting wards a special case, in which three shots had passed through a child’s bedroom while the child was still inside. The 10-year-old child woke up, thinking that a spider was on her face and there was sand in her bed, but in reality, it was sheetrock dust that had been blown onto her face from the bullet.
Moreover, a witness reported that Peña was actually there for this shooting to “ensure better target acquisition.” One of the men present told the other shooters to aim above the windows to make sure no one gets hurt. However, Peña wanted them to shoot lower. When none of the other shooters would comply with his demands, Peña took up his own gun. However, his gun had jammed, leaving him unable to actually shoot at the house, which might have been for the better. Thankfully no one was hurt in any of the shootings, but Peña might’ve wanted to do more serious harm.
A few hours after the shootings had occurred, police were able to trace them back to Peña through a Nissan Maxima registered to him that had firearms in it, surveillance footage, as well as electronic and cell phone records. Peña and all four of the other conspirators were arrested on Tuesday, and Peña was later brought in front of an Albuquerque judge on Wednesday. Prosecutors filed a motion for pretrial detention, meaning that Peña will be transferred to a district court where the judge will determine if he should stay detained or be released with some conditions. Peña, despite having shackles on his wrists and ankles, was reportedly calm, even answering one of the judge’s questions with a thumbs-up.
Peña’s defense attorney, Roberta Yurcic, released a statement saying: “At this point, the charges against Mr. Peña are merely accusations that have not yet been tested by the full rigor of the judicial process. … Mr. Peña and I look forward to a full and fair investigation of these claims. I plan to fully defend Mr. Peña and fiercely safeguard his rights throughout this process.” The New Mexico Republican Party has also released a statement, saying that if Peña is found guilty he must be “prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”