June 1 (UPI) -- A federal indictment of former failed GOP New Mexico House of Representatives candidate Solomon Pena was unsealed Wednesday. Pena is charged with organizing a shooting spree targeting the homes of four elected officials.
The Department of Justice said that before the shootings Pena went to the homes of at least three Bernalillo County commissioners and urged them not to certify election results claiming the election had been rigged against him.
"There is no room in our democracy for politically motivated violence, especially when it is used to undermine election results," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. said in a statement.
"As alleged, Solomon Peña orchestrated four shootings at the homes of elected officials, in part because of their refusal to overturn his election defeat. Such violent actions target not only the homes and families of elected officials, but also our election system as a whole. The department will not hesitate to hold individuals accountable for acts of politically motivated violence."
Pena lost the election to Democrat Miguel Garcia, getting just 26% of the vote.
The shootings happened at the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two New Mexico state legislators.
When the county certified the results, according to the Justice Department, Pena "allegedly hired others to conduct the shootings and carried out at least one of the shootings himself. At least three of the shootings occurred while children and other relatives of the victims were at home."
One of the shootings involved a machine gun.
The Justice Department said they happened between Dec. 4 and Jan. 3, with assistance from alleged co-conspirators Demetrio Trujillo, 41; Jose Trujillo, 22; and others.
U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez for the District of New Mexico said in a statement, "These charges strike at the heart of our democracy. Voters, candidates, and election officials must be free to exercise their rights and do their jobs safely and free from fear, intimidation, or influence, and with confidence that law enforcement and prosecuting offices will lead the charge when someone tries to silence the will of the people."
A Bernalillo County grand jury indicted Pena in January on 14 criminal charges stemming from the shootings.