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Oh Nothing, Just An Election-Losing MAGA Creep Shooting At New Mexico Dems' Houses
Republican Solomon Pena was also at the January 6 riot.
Monday, police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, arrested the so-called "mastermind" behind five shootings over the past month targeting Democratic lawmakers' homes and offices. The police seemingly have a generous definition of "mastermind."
The suspect, Solomon Pena, is a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for a New Mexico legislative seat in November. He later claimed his election was rigged, which is hardly outside the mainstream of current Republican rhetoric. Just like Donald Trump, Pena whined on social media about how he didn't actually lose and the election was stolen from him. He also appears to have attended that Woodstock for insurrectionists on January 6, 2021.
Pena had shown up unannounced at three of the targeted Democratic officials' homes in November demanding that the "fraudulent" election he lost by more than 50 points not be certified. He tweeted to New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, “I will attempt to stop the certification in Bernalillo County, until a hand recount has been done. It was rigged!”
On Nov. 15 Pena posted a photo of himself wearing a red “Make America Great Again” sweatshirt that appeared to have been signed in gold by Donald Trump and said “Trump just announced for 2024. I stand with him. I never conceded my HD 14 race. Now researching my options.”
It turns out his "options" mostly involved violence.
A clear warning sign was a Dec. 28 social media post that declared, "Everyone in the NM government who helped overthrow Trump are the active treasonists who must be placed in Guantanamo Bay Cuba for natural life. Once they are gone I can work on rebuilding Albuquerque.”
We repeat: This unhinged rhetoric is not unusual for actual, elected Republican politicians, whose Twitter feeds read like manifestos.
Bernalillo County Commissioners Debbie O’Malley, Adriann Barboa, Charlene Pyskoty, and Walt Benson did their jobs and certified the election in mid-November. On December 4, eight bullets struck Barboa’s Southeast Albuquerque home, and exactly a week later, on Dec. 11, O’Malley’s North Valley home was hit by more than 12 bullets.
Barboa told NPR, "In early December, I returned from Christmas shopping to my home being shot up; it was terrifying. My house had four shots through the front door and windows, where just hours before my grandbaby and I were playing in the living room."
Rep. Linda Lopez’s home in Southwest Albuquerque was hit on January 3. Three bullets went flying through her sleeping 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom. State Rep. Javier Martínez's home was also shot up. Police are investigating gunshots fired at the campaign office of Raúl Torrez and near the office of state Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, but there is no direct evidence right now linking Pena to the latter shootings.
Reportedly, the break in the case occurred 40 minutes after the shooting at Lopez's home. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies pulled over 21-year-old Jose Trujillo, who was driving a Nissan Maxima registered to Pena. After arresting Trujillo on an unrelated warrant, the deputies "found 800 fentanyl pills and two guns, a Glock handgun with a drum magazine and an AR pistol." The shell casings found outside Lopez's home matched the confiscated weapons.
APD acting Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock said Pena was present at the Lopez house shooting and fired one of the guns. Trujillo is one of four men Pena is accused of hiring to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators.
Balboa and O'Malley both recall disturbing encounters with Pena after the election last year. Balboa said, "He was just sort of all over the place — the things he was putting together weren’t quite connecting or fitting. You can’t say because you knocked on a thousand doors, you know you got a thousand votes.”
Kari Lake's ongoing charges of election theft are no less daft. It's convenient to believe she's just grifting the gullible, but Solomon Pena reminds us that far-too-many election deniers aren't playing a game. They're deadly serious.
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