A 48-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime last weekend after wielding a handgun and allegedly yelling racist threats outside the Seattle home of Representative Pramila Jayapal.
According to a probable-cause statement, police officers arrived and found the man, whose name was redacted, outside the prominent congresswoman’s house on Saturday, “standing in the middle of the street” with a Glock pistol in a holster on his waist. A neighbor told officers that he was yelling “I’m going to kill you” and “Go back to India” at the home of the first Indian American woman elected to the House. Jayapal had called 911 to report that someone was using obscene language outside her house and that they may have fired a pellet gun. When the man was arrested late on Saturday night, officers claim he told them he “knew who lived at the residence and wanted to pitch a tent on their property.”
In a statement, Jayapal’s office said the Congresswoman is “very grateful for the swift and professional response from the Seattle Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the FBI investigators who are working together diligently on the investigation and ensuring that she and her family stay safe.” She told a reporter that in the aftermath of the incident that she would like a security detail.
According to a spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office who spoke to the Associated Press, the suspect was released on Wednesday because prosecutors did not have evidence to prove he committed a hate crime. Upon his release, Seattle police obtained an extreme-risk protection order via the state’s red-flag law, which required him to temporarily hand over his firearms and concealed-pistol license. “In a time of increased political violence, security concerns against any elected official should be taken seriously, as we are doing here,” the spokesperson said.
The incident outside Jayapal’s house comes a little over a month after 26-year-old Nicholas John Roske was arrested with a Glock outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. According to a criminal complaint, U.S. Marshals saw Roske get out of a taxi early in the morning with a suitcase and backpack, at which point he called a local emergency line and threatened to “kill a specific United States Supreme Court justice.” Days later, he was charged with attempting to murder a justice of the United States.