Rep. Gerry Connolly's staff attacked by man wielding a baseball bat in his Va. office: What we know
The suspect, Xuan Kha Tran Pham, is facing charges of aggravated malicious wounding and malicious wounding.
A man wielding a metal baseball bat entered the office of Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly in northern Virginia on Monday and attacked two members of his staff, police say.
The suspect — identified as Xuan Kha Tran Pham, 49, of Fairfax, Va. — was taken into custody by officers who had to use a taser to subdue him.
Here’s everything we know about the incident, culled from original reporting and Yahoo News' trusted partners, including CBS News and the Washington Post.
How the attack unfolded
According to officials, the incident began shortly before 11 a.m., when Pham entered Connolly’s district office in Fairfax and approached an intern who was in her first day on the job. The suspect asked to see Connolly, 73. The Congress member was at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and not in the office.
"She told him what he didn't want to hear, which was I wasn't there," Connolly told CBS News. "He then proceeded to beat her with a bat."
Other staffers intervened, and Pham struck a senior aide in the head.
"At that point, one of my fast-thinking staff aides said, 'Oh, you want to see the congressman? Let me go get him for you,'" Connolly said. The aide then gathered other staffers and called police.
According to a spokesperson for the Fairfax City Police Department, officers arrived at the scene within five minutes. Connolly said police had to taser Pham, who was taken into custody.
Both the intern and senior aide were treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and later released.
What we know about the suspect
The Associated Press reported that Pham has a violent history and was accused of attacking police officers last year.
Pham’s father told the Washington Post that his son is schizophrenic and had dealt with mental illness since his late teens. Pham reportedly lives in Fairfax County, which is in Connolly’s district.
According to court records obtained by NBC News, Pham filed a federal lawsuit against the CIA in May 2022, alleging in a handwritten complaint that the CIA had "wrongfully imprisoned me in a lower perspective" and accused the agency of "brutally torturing” him “from the fourth dimension."
He asked the court to "be cured and returned to normal condition by a digital technology and compensated for my extreme suffering and losses in the amount of $29,000,000."
The Justice Department sought to dismiss the case in March.
According to Connolly, Pham is also suspected of threatening a woman with a bat in Fairfax on Monday before the attack at his office.
Threats against members of Congress
The attacks come as members of Congress have faced increased threats in recent years amid heightened political rhetoric.
In 2022, the Capitol Police investigated more than 7,500 possible threats against members of Congress, down from 9,600 cases in 2021 but still up significantly from 2017, when there were 3,900 reported threats.
Last month, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger testified before Congress on the mounting threats.
“One of the biggest challenges we face today is dealing with the sheer increase in the number of threats against members of Congress," Manger said.
In February, Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., was assaulted by a man in the elevator of her Washington, D.C., apartment building. According to authorities, the man, identified as Kendrid Hamlin, assaulted Craig and demanded that she let him into her apartment. She threw hot coffee on him to escape.
In October, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 82-year-old husband, Paul, was seriously injured at the couple's San Francisco home by a man who attacked him with a hammer.
According to police, the suspect, identified as David DePape, was carrying a bag with zip ties and duct tape when he broke into the home and accosted Paul Pelosi, repeatedly asking, “Where is Nancy?”
DePape pleaded not guilty to numerous federal and state charges, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment of an elder, attempted kidnapping of a federal officer and assault on the immediate family member of a federal officer.
Pham is in custody and facing charges of aggravated malicious wounding and a separate count of malicious wounding.
The U.S. Capitol Police and Fairfax City Police Department are investigating the incident.
"It is not clear what the suspect's motivation may have been," the Capitol Police said in a news release.
Connolly, who represents Virginia’s 11th Congressional District and has served in the House since 2009, told the Post that his office was working on a constituent issue for Pham at the time of the incident, but he did not know its exact nature.
"I have the best team in Congress," Connolly said in a statement. "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."