A Republican who formerly ran for the New Mexico legislature and believed there had been electoral fraud has been detained on suspicion of planning recent shootings that caused damage to the houses of Democratic elected officials in the state, according to police.
Solomon Pea, who unsuccessfully ran for the state House District 14 seat in 2022, was detained by Albuquerque police on Monday on suspicion of bribing four individuals to shoot at the residences of two state lawmakers and two county commissioners.
According to Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, “it is suspected he is the mastermind” behind the shootings that took place in late December and early January. When CNN contacted Pea’s campaign website for comment, it was unable to locate his lawyer.
Police claim that Pea approached a legislator and a few county commissioners at their residences in November after he had lost the election and claimed to have documentation that proved there had been election fraud. Tim Keller, the mayor of Albuquerque, stated on Monday that an investigation had found “these shootings were absolutely politically motivated.”
The worst thing you can do when you have a political dispute is turn it into violence, according to Keller, a Democrat. “At the end of the day, this was about a right-wing fanatic, an election denier who was detained today,” Keller added. We acknowledge that we don’t always share their political views, but that should never, ever escalate to violence.
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Since then-President Donald Trump lost his reelection campaign and started spreading lies that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, there has been a worldwide explosion of doubt about the validity of elections, mostly among Republicans and typically without any supporting evidence. The allegations have provoked resentment and open threats of violence against local government representatives.
Pea will be charged in connection with four shootings: an incident on December 4 at the residence of Adriann Barboa, a Bernalillo County Commissioner, a shooting on December 8 at the residence of Javier Martinez, the incoming speaker of the state House, a shooting on December 11 at the residence of Debbie O’Malley, a Bernalillo Commissioner, and a shooting on January 3 at the residence of Linda Lopez, a state senator.
Republican loses election, starts shooting Democrats' houses. What's the right word for this? https://t.co/yEB1BsMlH4
— Stephen Marche (@StephenMarche) January 17, 2023
the most recent shooting, authorities discovered evidence According to Deputy Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock of the Albuquerque police department, “Pea himself went on this shooting and actually squeezed the trigger on at least one of the firearms that was utilised.”
However, the AR pistol he attempted to use malfunctioned, and a second gunman fired more than a dozen shots from a different handgun, according to a police news release. According to Hartsock, the police are still looking into whether those accused of carrying out the shootings “even knew who these targets were or if they were merely conducting shootings.”
Four residences were damaged as a consequence of the shootings, according to a news release from the Albuquerque police department. According to authorities, the first shooting occurred in Barboa’s home. Barboa expressed her gratitude for the arrest on “CNN This Morning” on Tuesday. She stated, “I’m glad to hear that he won’t be targeting individuals in this way any more.”
Cops said 5 Persons are Involved in a Plot
Pea’s opponent, Democratic state Rep. Miguel Garcia, filed a lawsuit to have Pea removed from the ballot during the fall campaign, claiming Pea’s status as an ex-felon should disqualify him from running for public office in the state, according to CNN affiliate KOAT.
After being found guilty in 2008 of stealing a sizable amount of merchandise in a “smash and grab scam,” Pea was sentenced to over seven years in jail, according to the KOAT story. Pea told the magazine in September that “you can’t run from your own history.” I lacked anything besides a burning determination to change my situation in life.
Albuquerque police on Monday arrested the man they say is the 'mastermind' behind a recent string of shootings targeting Democratic lawmakers' homes. The sus…https://t.co/SqZAV0VLem
— Senator Hughes (@SenatorHughes) January 17, 2023
According to KOAT, a district court judge determined Pea was qualified to run for office. He was defeated by Garcia by a margin of 26% to 74%, but a week later he stated that he “never conceded” the contest and was considering his alternatives.
“Solomon Pea reached out and hired someone to carry out at least two of these shootings for a sum of cash after the election in November. Phone calls were made to the shooting locations, according to Hartsock on Monday, citing the inquiry. “In one instance, the shooting happened at the lawmaker’s house within hours.”
According to Hartsock, the investigation was aided by firearm evidence, security footage, mobile phone and electronic records, and witnesses who were present during and surrounding the conspiracy. These factors helped authorities link five persons to this conspiracy.
According to a news release from the police, detectives executed search warrants at Pea’s apartment and the residence of two individuals who were reportedly paid by Pea on Monday. Pea was uncooperative with the detectives, however.
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According to Hartsock, Pea was detained by police on suspicion of “helping orchestrate and participate in these four shootings, either at his request or he personally performed them, himself.” Last week, police reported that they had a suspect in custody and had found a gun linked to one of the shootings at elected leaders’ residences.
According to the department, Pea was the owner of a car that was driven at one of the shooting locations. Authorities had previously stated that they were looking into two additional reports of gunfire that had occurred since December close to the state attorney general’s campaign office and a state senator’s law office. According to police, detectives no longer think that those two incidents are related to the other four.
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