BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalMay 15, 2023
9 months ago

Congressman's Staff Attacked, Suspect Now in Police Custody

The man charged after an attack on the office of Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia has a history of mental health issues.

Two members of Connolly's officer were injured Monday after a baseball bat-wielding man entered the congressman’s office in Fairfax, Virginia. One staff member hurt was an intern who was starting her first day of work, according to WRC-TV. Both were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Fairfax police said Xuan-Kha Tran Pham, 49, was arrested, according to FFXNow. Police said one officer suffered what was termed a minor injury in the incident.

Pham was charged with one count of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding and is being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

"The assumption is mental illness is at work, but we don’t know his background,” Connolly said, according to The Washington Post.

Hy Pham, Xuan Pham’s father, said his son suffered from schizophrenia and mental illness.

“He blamed the FBI for making him sick,” Hy Pham said. “He blamed the Navy for making him sick.”

Connolly said the man asked, “Where’s Connolly?” and became agitated when told Connolly was not in the office.

He said the intern was hit in the body and the office’s outreach director was hit in the back of the head. Another staff member with a military background then led the staff into an office to take shelter, Connolly said.

Fairfax County General District Court records show Xuan-Kha Tran Pham was charged in 2022 after a scuffle with police. FFXNow said that charge was dropped after Pham ended six months of supervision and was treated by mental health officials.

Connolly said the office was extensively damaged, according to CNN, noting that glass in a conference room was shattered and computers were damaged.

“He was filled with out-of-control rage,” Connolly, who was not in the office at the time, said of the attacker.

“This morning, an individual entered my District Office armed with a baseball bat and asked for me before committing an act of violence against two members of my staff. The individual is in police custody and both members of my team were transferred to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries,” Connolly said in a statement on Twitter.

“Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need. The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating,” he said.

“You could absolutely tell that the people inside were scared,” Fairfax police Sgt. Lisa Gardner said according to WRC-TV. “They were hiding. I mean, someone swinging a bat around, I would be scared as well. But thankfully the police officers got here fairly quickly.”

According to WRC, the suspect is also under investigation in connection with an earlier attack in which a woman was approached by a man with a bat who asked her if she was white and then smashed her windshield.

The incident was not the first attack directed against members of Congress or their staff members.

In March, a staff member of Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was stabbed in Washington, D.C. In February, Democratic Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota was assaulted in her Washington, D.C. apartment building.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal



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