New Mexico judge orders suspect held without bond in shootings at homes of Democratic elected officials

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A political newcomer who lost his bid for the New Mexico statehouse and is accused of orchestrating a series of drive-by shootings at the homes of Democratic officials will remain in custody pending trial after a judge agreed Monday that he is a danger to the community.

Solomon Peña, 39, is charged with multiple counts that include shooting at a dwelling and possession of a firearm by a felon.

No one was hurt in the shootings, but the case has reignited the debate over whether lawmakers should make it harder for people accused of violent crimes to make bail, as New Mexico struggles with persistent violent crime.

Peña’s defense attorney raised questions about the credibility of a confidential witness that shared information with authorities, saying some of the statements that were used in a criminal complaint were contradictory. She also argued that her client’s criminal history did not involve any violent convictions or crimes involving firearms and that he has not been in trouble with the law since his release from prison in 2016, other than two traffic citations.

Prosecutors outlined Peña’s time in prison and described him as the “ringleader” of a group that he assembled to shoot at people’s homes, saying ballistics testing determined that a firearm found in the trunk of a car registered to Peña was linked to at least one shooting. Another man was found driving that car and arrested on an unrelated warrant.

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