Staffers attacked inside Virginia congressman's office

The Fairfax, Virginia, office of Rep. Gerald E. Connolly.
The Fairfax, Virginia, office of Rep. Gerald E. Connolly. AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Two staffers were attacked on Monday morning inside the Fairfax, Virginia, office of Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.).

Police said the suspect, Xuan Kha Tran Pham, 49, of Fairfax, is facing charges of one count of felony aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding. No motive has been revealed, and the suspect is being held without bond.

The incident began at 10:30 a.m., when the suspect entered the office with a metal baseball bat and hit two people in the upper body, police said. In an interview with The Washington Post, Connolly said the suspect became angry when he learned the congressman wasn't there, and "went on a rampage," smashing several windows and a computer.

Connolly's outreach director and an intern were harmed in the attack, with both treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect's father said his son struggled with mental illness and he was trying to get him mental health care, the Post reported. The New York Times found that in 2022, Pham filed a federal lawsuit against the CIA and claimed he was imprisoned for decades by the agency and being "brutally tortured" with a "degenerative disability" from the "fourth dimension."

In the last several years, there has been a rise in the number of threats made against members of Congress. The Capitol Police said in 2017, there were fewer than 4,000 threats, and in 2022, more than 7,500 threats were reported. Of those 7,500 cases, the Capitol Police's Threat Assessment Section decided 313 were serious threats, and prosecutors filed charges in just 22 instances, the Post reported.

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