Connolly staffers attacked in district office by baseball bat-wielding assailant

Two staffers for Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) were hospitalized Monday after a person armed with a baseball bat entered the congressman’s district office in Fairfax, Va., and committed “an act of violence.”

Connolly, who represents Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, said the assailant asked for him before attacking his staffers. from Connolly’s office.

“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 individual is in police custody and both members of my team were transferred to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries,” Connolly said in a statement.

“Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need. We are incredibly thankful to the City of Fairfax Police Department and emergency medical professionals for their quick response. I have the best team in Congress. themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day,” he added.

The congressman’s statement continued, “The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”

The incident occurred at Connolly’s office on Main St. in Fairfax, according to a tweet from city police, who said officers are “investigating the assault of two staff members. The victims are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is in police custody.”

Connolly told CNN that the assailant struck a senior aide in the head with a metal bat and hit an intern on the side with the bat. food bank when the incident took place.

The congressman said the attacker is a constituent from his district whom he does not know. He noted that the assailant shattered glass and broke computers.

“He was filled with out-of-control rage,” Connolly told CNN.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) in a statement said he spoke with Connolly “to offer him and his staff the full support of the House Democratic Caucus family in the aftermath of this horrific attack.”

The incident at Connolly’s office is the latest violent threat faced by a lawmaker amid extreme political polarization in the US

The US Capitol Police’s Threat Assessment Section 7,501 cases investigated in 2022, which includes investigations into concerning statements and direct threats. That was down from the 9,625 cases in 2021 and the 8,613 cases in 2020.

Despite the drop, however, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger in January said the threats against lawmakers “are still too high.”

“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 wrote in a statement.

“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.”

In October, a man broke into the California home of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and hit her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer. According to charging documents, the alleged attacker, David DePape, was targeting the congresswoman when he entered the San Francisco residence.

Pelosi at the time was second in line to the presidency.

DePape has since been charged with attempted murder and other state felony charges, which he pleaded not guilty to.

In February, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) was assaulted in the elevator at her apartment building in Washington, DC According to a police report filed with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, the attacker punched Craig in the chin and grabbed her neck, and the congresswoman threw her hot coffee to defend herself.

Craig’s chief of staff said she “suffered bruising, but is otherwise physically okay,” and noted that there was no evidence of the incident being politically motivated.

Updated: 3:04pm

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