Random acts of criminal violence have become an increasingly serious problem in many American cities, including Washington D.C., as one Democratic lawmaker personally found out the hard way this week.
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) was physically assaulted by an unknown assailant Thursday morning in her own apartment building near the nation’s Capitol, The Hill reported.
That act of violence is believed to have been random and was not politically motivated, according to a top staffer for the Minnesota congresswoman.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Rep. Craig’s Chief of Staff Nick Coe revealed that just a few hours earlier the congresswoman had been “assaulted in the elevator of her apartment building in Washington D.C.”
“Rep. Craig defended herself from the attacker and suffered bruising, but is otherwise physically okay,” the staffer continued, as well as that Craig called 911 and “the assailant fled the scene of the assault.”
“There is no evidence that the incident was politically motivated,” Coe added. Craig was also “grateful to the DC Metropolitan Police Department for their quick response and asks for privacy at this time.”
Craig used cup of hot coffee to defend herself
NPR reported that, according to a police report for the incident, Rep. Craig had first noticed the man who assaulted her shortly after 7 am in the lobby of her D.C. apartment building and recalled that he had been “acting erratic as if he was under the influence of an unknown substance.”
She claimed that she had wished the man a “good morning” as she entered the elevator but that he had followed her into the enclosed space and “began to randomly do pushups” before he suddenly punched her in the chin and grabbed at her neck.
Craig responded by throwing her cup of hot coffee at the assailant, which prompted him to release her and flee the scene.
The D.C. police reportedly arrived quickly and conducted a search of the area, particularly the basement-level parking garage, but were unable to locate the suspect, and a $1,000 reward was posted for any information from the public about his possible location.
Suspect arrested, charged, and identified
CBS News reported that almost exactly 12 hours after the assault on Rep. Craig had occurred on Thursday morning, the D.C. Police announced that an arrest had been made of the suspected assailant.
The announcement did not provide any details on how authorities had located the suspect or definitively linked him to the incident, but did identify him as 26-year-old Kendrick Hamlin, also known as Hamlin Khalil Hamlin.
Hamlin, who now faces a single charge of simple assault, has “no fixed address” and is believed to be homeless.
A spokesperson for the D.C. Metro Police said in a statement, “At this time, there is no indication that the Congresswoman was targeted because of her position; however, the case is still under investigation by both the MPD and the USCP.”