U.S. Capitol Police arrested 49-year-old Xuan Kha Tran Pham for attacking Representative Gerry Connelly's staff with a metal baseball bat in Fairfax, Virginia, on Monday.
The Capitol Police issued a statement saying, "At approximately 10:49 a.m. on Monday, May 15, a man entered Representative Connolly’s District Office. Two Congressional staffers were assaulted with a metal bat and received non-life threatening injuries. Congressman Connolly was not in the office at the time of the assaults."
The statement added that "The Fairfax City Police Department responded and arrested the suspect. At this time, it is not clear what the suspect’s motivation may have been."
It seems that Connelly was the target of this attack as the attacker asked for the Congressman before attacking his staffers. Two staffers were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Connelly issued a statement following the attack saying, “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."
He went on to say, "I have the best team in Congress. My District Office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day,” the congressman said. “The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating."
Perhaps Connelly's accessibility is why he was picked out by this individual as Connelly isn't a particularly controversial figure in Congress.
It's also possible that this was simply a deranged individual who decided to attack Connelly for another reason besides politics.
Pham is facing charges of Aggravated Malicious Wounding and one count of Malicious Wounding for attacking Connelly's staffers. It's possible other charges could be coming based on what the investigation discovers about Pham's motives.
This attack is a stark reminder that violence against political figures has been on the rise over the past few years. While thankfully this attack wasn't successful, other politicians haven't been so lucky.
Considering past attacks, Connelly and his staff are fortunate. Connelly was unharmed and his two staffers that were attacked weren't seriously injured.
Back in 2017, a gunman opened fire on Republicans practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. After confirming it was the Republican team practicing, the gunman fired 60 rounds, injuring 5 Republicans.
The past few years has seen a 400% increase in threats against members of Congress and it's a miracle that someone hasn't been killed at this point.
Thankfully, the Capitol Police have done an admirable job and this latest attack will likely lead to more security, even for Congressional representatives who want to be as accessible as possible to the general public.