U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said a person with a baseball bat walked into his district office in Fairfax, Virginia on Monday, allegedly attacking and injuring two of his staff members.
“This morning, an individual entered my District Office armed with a baseball bat and asked for me before committing an act of violence against two members of my staff,” the congressman from Virginia said in a press release. “The individual is in police custody and both members of my team were transferred to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) speaking at a press conference to discuss the introduction of election interference legislation in Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images)
Connolly went on to say his team’s focus is ensuring the staff members are getting the care they need.
At about 10:50 a.m. on Monday, a man entered Connolly’s District Office and assaulted two of his staff members with a metal bat.
The suspect in Monday’s attack was identified by the U.S. Capitol Police as 49-year-old Xuan Kha Tran Pham of Fairfax, Virginia.
Xuan Kha Tran Pham, 49, allegedly attacked two congressional staffers with a baseball bat on Monday. (Fairfax Police Department)
Pham was charged with one count each of aggravated malicious wounding and malicious wounding.
A reporter with NBC posted a video to Twitter that was obtained from a neighboring property owner’s doorbell camera to the District office, showing the suspect chasing after one of Connolly’s staff members with a bat.
Connolly, who represents the 11th District of Virginia, thanked the City of Fairfax Police Department and EMS professionals for acting quickly.
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He also spoke highly of his team.
“I have the best team in Congress,” Connolly said. “My District Office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day. The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”
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House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said he spoke with Connolly and offered him and his staff the full support of the House Democratic Caucus family, following the attack.
Like Connolly, Jeffries expressed praise for the members of law enforcement and EMS who apprehended the suspect and offered care to the staff members.
“The safety of our Members and of our staff remains of paramount importance, particularly given the increased instances of political violence in our country,” Jeffries said. “I have asked the House Sergeant at Arms and the U.S. Capitol Police to continue their focus on collaborating with our Members. We must collectively take every available precaution to protect Members and our staff, who serve the American people with patriotism and passion and deserve to do so without fear for their safety.”
The United States Capitol Police and Congress, over the past few years, have beefed up security for congressional and district offices. They have also allocated additional funds to provide security at the homes and district offices of lawmakers.
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USCP Chief Tom Manger testified last month about the increased threat climate across the country.
“One of the biggest challenges we face today is dealing with the sheer increase in the number of threats against Members of Congress – approximately 400% over the past 6 years,” Manger said. “Over the course of the last year, the world has continuously changed, becoming more violent and uncertain.”