The Fairfax man arrested after a baseball bat attack injured two congressional staffers in U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly’s office faces a slew of charges, including a hate crime.
Xuan-Kha Tran Pham, 49, was arraigned Tuesday morning. According to Fairfax County General District Court documents, he’s been charged with malicious assault, malicious wounding, destruction of property, and a hate crime.
The Associated Press reports that, according to police, Pham went up to a woman parked in her car shortly before the attack at Connolly’s office and asked if she was white. He then hit her windshield with a baseball bat.
The AP says video from a neighbor shows a man chasing a screaming woman.
Pham is being held without bond. Preliminary court hearings are slated for July 17.
His father told The Washington Post that Pham was schizophrenic and has been dealing with mental health issues since he was a teenager. Attempts to get care for Pham — who allegedly blamed the FBI and the Navy for making him ill — have been unsuccessful, the father told the Post.
Court documents show that Pham was taken into custody in January 2022 for resisting arrest, assaulting officers, and trying to disarm them. The AP reports officers had been responding after Pham told authorities he wished to harm others.
He allegedly entered an agreement designed to make sure he received mental health care, according to an AP source, and sought treatment. Those charges were dropped in September.
Monday’s attack sent the two of the Democratic lawmaker’s staffers to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. They’ve since been released. For one of the staffers, an intern, it was her first day on the job.
In a statement after the assault, Connolly — who was not in the office at the time — said the “thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”
The United States Capitol Police and the Fairfax City Police Department are investigating the incident. The motivation for the attack remains unknown.
Authorities have said there is an increased “threat climate” across the U.S. against members of Congress.
“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 percent over the past six years,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said. “Over the course of the last year, the world has continuously changed, becoming more violent and uncertain.”
Feature image courtesy GerryConnolly/Twitter
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