GOP Candidate Accused of ‘Masterminding’ Plot to Shoot Up Democrats’ Homes

The former GOP candidate embraced QAnon “stolen election” conspiracy theories after losing his race in a landslide
Twitter/Solomon Pena for NM

A former GOP candidate who embraced “stolen election” conspiracy theories after losing his race in a landslide is accused of “masterminding” a series of shootings at the homes of four Democratic lawmakers.

Solomon Peña, who lost his race for the New Mexico state legislature in 2022, was arrested after a SWAT team operation at his home in Albuquerque on Monday evening, Albuquerque Police chief Harold Medina said during a press conference on Monday night


“Peña is accused of conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of 2 county commissioners and 2 state legislators,” Medina said.

Peña paid four other men to conduct the drive-by shootings at or near the homes of the four lawmakers in December and early January, and investigators believe he was present during at least one of the shootings, Medina said.

A VICE News review of Peña’s Twitter history has uncovered his habit of posting the “stolen election” lies pushed by former President Donald Trump, as well as QAnon-related conspiracy theories, anti-vax messages, and misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic statements.

On Nov. 16, just weeks before the shootings began, Peña responded to the news that  Trump was going to run for president again in 2024 by posting a picture of himself posing with Trump flags and wearing a MAGA hoodie.

“Trump just announced for 2024,” Peña tweeted. “I stand with him. I never conceded my HD 14 race. Now researching my options.”

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The first shooting was on Dec. 4, when Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa’s home was hit by eight bullets. Then, on Dec. 8, state Rep. Javier Martínez heard gunshots outside his home and subsequently found bullet holes in his walls. On Dec. 11, more than a dozen bullets hit the home of County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley in North Valley.

The final shooting took place on Jan. 3, when shots were fired at state Rep. Linda Lopez’s home. Three bullets that went through a bedroom where her 10-year-old daughter was sleeping.


Peña lost a race in House District 14 in November to longtime incumbent state Rep. Miguel Garcia, a Democrat. The race was not close: Garcia won by 48 points, or around 3,600 votes.

Despite his landslide loss, Peña visited three of the targeted officials’ homes without warning in the weeks after the election, complaining about election fraud and demanding the vote not be certified, the Albuquerque Journal reported—and then the shootings began.

“The Albuquerque Police Department essentially discovered what we had all feared and what we had suspected—that these shootings were indeed politically motivated,” Mayor Tim Keller said at the news conference. “They were dangerous attacks not only to these individuals… but, fundamentally, also to democracy.” He called Peña a “right wing radical” and an “election denier.”

Long before voting began, Peña was posting baseless claims that the Democrats were going to rig the 2022 elections, and repeated widely debunked allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.


But after he lost his race, his social media actively became more frequent—and more extreme.

In posts and replies after the November election, he pushed the election conspiracy theories, including those promoted by David Clements, the former New Mexico State University professor who’s become a superstar in the election denier community in recent years.

He also cited the work of Jeff O’Donnell, the Florida businessman who has dedicated himself to promoting unproven “rigged election” theories under the name “The Lone Raccoon.”

“I am the MAGA king,” Peña wrote in a tweet on Nov. 10, two days after losing the election. Along with repeatedly calling the vote “rigged” he also attacked his opponents, calling one “a demon possessed liar.”

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Alongside election fraud conspiracy theories, Peña shared QAnon-linked conspiracies by repeatedly blaming the “deep state” for his loss, and warning that all his enemies would be arrested and brought to Guantanamo Bay, a frequent prediction among QAnon followers.

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Peña also repeatedly attacked women who called him out on Twitter, labelling one “an effing bitch” and another “a fatass.” In another comment, a response to a woman who’d posted a photo wishing her followers Merry Christmas, he wrote: “Drop 20 pounds.”

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