Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) speaks in Washington on April 19.
A person wielding a metal baseball bat attacked two staffers inside the Virginia office of Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) on Monday morning after asking for him by name, the member of Congress said.
Both victims were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries while the suspect was taken into police custody, Sgt. Lisa Gardner, a public information officer with the Fairfax City Police Department, told HuffPost.
One police officer also sustained a minor injury and was receiving medical treatment, the Fairfax City Police Department said.
“Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need,” Connolly said in a statement that praised his staff as “the best team in Congress.”
“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,” he said.
The suspect was identified by United States Capitol Police as 49-year-old Xuan Kha Tran Pham of Fairfax, Virginia. He was not previously known by Capitol Police or police in the city of Fairfax, both departments said.
— Fairfax City Police (@FairfaxCityPD) May 15, 2023
He faces one count of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding. A motive for the attack was not immediately known, Capitol Police said in a statement.
The assailant struck a senior aide in the head with the metal bat and also hit an intern, who was on her first day on the job, on her side, CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted, citing an interview with Connolly.
Gardner said officers were called to Connolly’s office at 10:49 a.m. over an active assault. Connolly was not at the office at the time of the incident, she added.
Capitol Police have highlighted the rising number of threats made against congressional leaders over the past several years and the need for more resources.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger last month called the world “more violent and uncertain” while requesting funding for more officers to help fight burnout among his staff.
“The sheer increase in the number of threats against members of Congress — approximately 400% over the past six years — requires new and innovative techniques to identify, deter, and mitigate threats before they materialize,” Manger said in prepared testimony.