Former GOP candidate Solomon Peña denied pretrial release

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Former Republican candidate Solomon Peña made his first court appearance Wednesday in connection to a shooting plot targeting multiple Democratic elected officials in Albuquerque.

Peña was arrested Monday. He is facing multiple charges for shooting at an occupied dwelling, shooting from a motor vehicle, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and criminal solicitation.

According to Albuquerque police, Peña targeted multiple elected officials over the last two months after he claimed the 2022 election was rigged when he lost by thousands of votes.

On Wednesday, Metropolitan Court Judge Jill Martinez said Peña will remain behind bars until a formal detention hearing in the case. That hearing will take place in Bernalillo County District Court. The date for that hearing has not been determined at this time.

Sam Bregman, the new Bernalillo County district attorney, said he will personally prosecute Peña’s case.


According to Peña’s public safety assessment, the Arnold tool says he could be released on his own recognizance, even with a past felony conviction for burglary on his record from 2007 and the violent nature of the crime he was arrested for.

Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina issued the following statement in response to a recommendation that Peña be released from jail, pending trial. A judge will rule on that recommendation at the next hearing for the suspect.

“We are seeing yet another example today that shows why the criminal justice system is broken,” Chief Medina said. “Prosecutors will recommend that the suspect in these shootings be held in jail until trial. But a judicial assessment recommends the suspect should be released, even though he is a convicted felon who served time in prison for committing more than a dozen felonies. This suspect is alleged to have hired hitmen to shoot up elected officials’ houses with life-threatening gunfire.

While I realize the judicial assessment is just one tool that judges can consider, I believe that tool is fatally flawed. How can we require judges to use this broken tool? We need to fix this process so the public will have faith that we are keeping the community safe from dangerous criminals.”


  • Dec. 4, 2022 – Several shots were fired at 4:41 p.m. at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa.
  • Dec. 8, 2022 – Shots were fired at 6:52 a.m. at the home of House Speaker Javier Martinez.
  • Dec. 11, 2022 – More than a dozen shots were fired at the home of then-Bernalillo Commissioner Debbie O’Malley.
  • Jan. 3, 2023 – More than a dozen shots were fired shortly after midnight at the home of State Sen. Linda Lopez.