Northern Virginia

2 Staffers Attacked With Baseball Bat at Rep. Connolly's Virginia Office

Man taken into custody at the office after rampage

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Two members of U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff were assaulted with a metal baseball bat at his office in Virginia Monday morning, city of Fairfax police said.

“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,” Connolly (D-11th District) said in a statement.

One of the injured staffers is an intern working her first day on the job. Connolly said she was struck in the side, and his outreach director was hit on the head.

“Both of them are conscious and talking. They’re both are in shock. Their families were with them too,” Connolly said.

The man also broke glass and damaged computers throughout the office during the rampage.

Two members of U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff were assaulted with a metal baseball bat at his office in Virginia Monday morning, city of Fairfax police said. Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter Drew Wilder reports.

Connolly was not in the office.

Police were called to the office on Main Street at 10:49 a.m. Monday.

Other staffers were hiding when officers arrived.

“You could absolutely tell that the people inside were scared,” city of Fairfax police Sgt. Lisa Gardner said. “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.”

The injured staffers were taken to hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, police said. One police officer also was treated for an injury.

Police took 49-year-old Xuan-Kha Tran Pham into custody at the office. He is charged with malicious wounding and aggravated malicious wounding. It was not immediately clear if the man had an attorney who could speak for him.

“We are extremely happy that this wasn’t worse,” Gardner said.

The suspect is also accused of attacking another person shortly after 10:30 a.m. Monday. He approached a woman sitting in her car in the Chantilly area, asked her if she was white and then smashed her windshield with a bat, police said. He’ll be charged with a hate crime and destruction of property.

The Suspect Was Known to Police and Neighbors

After the incident at Connolly's office, police went to investigate Pham's Fairfax County home, which he shares with his parents and is just a few doors down from where he attacked the woman.

Authorities spent a couple hours inside and left with a box that appeared to contain a computer and documents.

Neighbor Mary North said the family has not lived there very long, but it was clear the parents struggled with what they told neighbors was their son’s mental illness.

"He was going around to all the neighbors, because evidently somebody must have had some concerns... to let them know that his son did have mental issues, but he wasn't harmful. And he wouldn't hurt anyone," she said.

Connolly said the suspect was known to police in Fairfax, adding, “He's never made threats to us, so it was unprovoked, unexpected and inexplicable.”

Fairfax County police confirmed they were called to Pham's home on January 12, 2022, when a man called 911 saying he wanted to harm others. When responding officers tried to take Pham into custody, they said he fought them and tried to grab one officer's gun.

He was charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer, trying to disarm an officer and resisting arrest. A source told News4's Jackie Bensen that the charges were dropped after he was determined to be in compliance with a mental health treatment plan.

Lawmakers Respond

“I have no reason to believe that his motivation was politically motivated, but it is possible that the sort of toxic political environment we all live in, you know, set him off, and I would just hope all of us would take a little more time to be careful about what we say and how we say it," Connolly said about the attack.

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin condemned the attack on Twitter.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) retweeted Connolly’s statement, calling the attack an “extraordinarily disturbing development.”

“Intimidation and violence – especially against public servants – has no place in our society,” he said.

“The coward who did this should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” tweeted Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican.

“There’s this acceptance of extremism in our society that it’s OK to attack your political opponents; it’s OK to physically attack them,” state Sen. Chap Peterson (D-Fairfax) said. “And I don’t know what happened with this gentleman. It sounds like there may be some issue with mental health. I don’t know. But I do think that the temperature has gotten so high that for someone to walk into a congressional office swinging a baseball bat, I mean, that’s just not acceptable.”

U.S. Capitol Police investigated 7,501 threats in 2022, down from 9,625 in 2021 but up from 3,939 in 2017.

Last month, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger testified about the heightened threat climate across the country.

“One of the biggest challenges we face today is dealing with the sheer increase in the number of threats against Members of Congress — approximately 400% over the past six years,” said Chief Manger. “Over the course of the last year, the world has continuously changed, becoming more violent and uncertain.”

Fairfax police are cooperating with Capitol Police and the FBI in the investigation.

Stay with News4 for developments to this story.

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