Virgina Democrat Tom Perriello warned Friday that incidents of violence "could spiral out of control" because political leaders are not reacting quickly enough to condemn it.
"What we need here is for everyone to take a deep breath...for both sides to condemn all violence," Perriello said Friday on the WAMU 88.5 FM "Politics Hour" with Kojo Nnamdi. "This should be something that isn't partisan. There's no gray area."
Virginia authorities are investigating an act of vandalism earlier this week that apparently was directed toward the freshman congressman who voted for the president's health care bill.
A disgruntled blogger posted an address on a Web site criticizing Perriello. A short time later, the propane gas line to a grill at the address was cut, sending dangerous fumes into the air. It turns out the house was owned by Perriello's brother Bo.
"It was a scary week for my family," Perriello said. "(My brother) has four small kids at home."
Perriello said once the address was on the Web, his brother rushed home to check on his family.
"He found propane gas covering the back of his house ... it could have ignited ... and it's very scary," he said.
Perriello praised Virgina Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and Virginia Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for both condemning the propane gas incident, which is being investigated by state authorities. Perriello also condemned an apparent act of vandalism Friday against the Albemarle County Republican headquarters in Charlottesville. Several bricks were thrown through the windows.
On the radio show, Perriello said some of the most threatening telephone calls to other members of Congress have not been made public but are being investigated by police.
"Recordings (saying) 'I'm going to kill your children,' naming the children, saying 'I'll burn your house,'" Perriello said.
Perriello called on leaders of both parties to speak out forcefully against violence and intimidation, whether from right wing or left wing zealots.
"It's absolutely wrong to intimidate, threaten or harm elected officials, their families or their property," he said.