Employees Members Attacked With Bat at Rep. Connolly’s Virginia Workplace
A person armed with a baseball bat and demanding to see Consultant Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, attacked and injured two employees aides in a damaging rampage contained in the congressman’s Fairfax, Va., workplace, the newest episode in a surge of political violence throughout the nation.
Xuan Kha Tran Pham, 49, of Fairfax, was going through fees for one depend of felony aggravated malicious wounding and one depend of malicious wounding, in accordance with the Fairfax Metropolis Police Division. He was being held with out bond.
Police stated they’d not but recognized a motive, and Capitol Police stated in a press release that the suspect was not identified to them.
Sgt. Lisa Gardner, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax Metropolis Police, stated at a information convention on Monday afternoon that the assailant walked into Mr. Connolly’s workplace round 10:30 a.m. with what seemed to be a steel baseball bat and struck two employees members within the higher physique.
Each employees members had been acutely aware when the police arrived about 5 minutes after a 911 name, she stated. Mr. Connolly stated in a press release that the person had dedicated “an act of violence” and that the 2 aides had been taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening accidents.
“You could possibly completely inform that the folks inside had been scared; they had been hiding,” Sergeant Gardner stated.
“It’s fairly frankly scary that somebody can stroll as much as an workplace with a baseball bat and simply begin swinging at harmless victims,” she added.
Mr. Connolly represents a swath of the Northern Virginia suburbs west of Washington, D.C. He was first elected to Congress in 2008. In a press release after the assault, he stated he had “the perfect group in Congress.”
“My district workplace employees make themselves accessible to constituents and members of the general public every single day,” Mr. Connolly stated within the assertion. “The thought that somebody would reap the benefits of my employees’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”
Mr. Connolly instructed CNN that the attacker struck certainly one of his senior aides within the head with the steel bat, and hit an intern — on her first day on the job — within the facet with the bat.
Whereas members of Congress are protected on Capitol Hill by america Capitol Police, their district places of work usually don’t obtain such safety until there’s a particular identified risk to the member.
In Monday’s assault, the assailant brought on substantial harm in Mr. Connolly’s workplace, shattering glass in a convention room and breaking computer systems.
Final 12 months, Mr. Pham filed a federal lawsuit in Virginia in opposition to the C.I.A. alleging that the company had imprisoned him for many years in a “decrease perspective primarily based on physics referred to as the guide world” and demanding $29 million. The go well with, which was handwritten, claimed the company was “brutally torturing” him with a “degenerative incapacity” from the “fourth dimension.
Consultant Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the highest Democrat within the Home, referred to as the assault “horrific.”
“We’re grateful for the members of regulation enforcement and medical professionals who swiftly acted to apprehend the suspect and look after the affected members of our Capitol Hill group,” Mr. Jeffries stated. “The security of our members and of our employees stays of paramount significance, notably given the elevated cases of political violence in our nation.”
Mr. Jeffries stated he requested the Home sergeant-at-arms and the Capitol Police to “take each accessible precaution to guard members and our employees, who serve the American folks with patriotism and fervour and deserve to take action with out worry for his or her security.”
The assault comes amid an increase in threats and violent political speech in opposition to members of Congress lately. In October, an intruder bludgeoned Consultant Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, with a hammer inside their San Francisco residence after the attacker shouted, “The place is Nancy?”
Final month, J. Thomas Manger, the Capitol Police chief, testified on Capitol Hill concerning the heightened risk local weather throughout the nation. Final 12 months, there have been greater than 7,000 threats in opposition to members of Congress.
“One of many greatest challenges we face right this moment is coping with the sheer improve within the variety of threats in opposition to members of Congress — roughly 400 % over the previous six years,” he stated. “Over the course of the final 12 months, the world has repeatedly modified, changing into extra violent and unsure.”