Jul 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Man accused of threatening Rep. Pramila Jayapal held on $500,000 bail

Rep. Jayapal speaks into a microphone.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal in April. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A man accused of threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) outside her home while armed with a gun is being held on $500,000 bail.

The latest: On Monday, a King County judge found probable cause to hold the 48-year-old West Seattle man on potential felony hate crime charges.

  • Of note: Axios is not naming the man because he has yet to be formally charged.

Details: The man was arrested late Saturday night outside Jayapal's Seattle home after police received a report of someone yelling obscenities and possibly firing a pellet gun.

  • A neighbor told police that she heard the man say something to the effect of: "Go back to India, I'm going to kill you," per a probable cause statement.
  • Police said they arrested the man with his hands up in the middle of the street and a Glock 22 handgun holstered at his waist.

Context: Jayapal immigrated to the U.S. from India four decades ago.

Zoom out: Threats against members of Congress investigated by U.S. Capitol Police increased by 144% between the first year of former President Trump's term and the first year of President Biden's, Axios' Andrew Solender reports per data shared with Axios.

  • A warrant was issued last weekend for the arrest of a 22-year-old man who allegedly called and threatened Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republican lawmakers, according to a transcript released by the local district attorney's office, Fox News reported.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) recently released a three-minute compilation of threatening voicemails and phone calls his office has received — underscoring the increased harassment and threats lawmakers have faced since 2017.

What they're saying: Jayapal's office confirmed in a statement that the congresswoman and her family were safe, but said Jayapal couldn't comment at length because of the ongoing investigation.

What's next: Seattle police are still investigating the case.

  • The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office could make a charging decision as soon as Wednesday.
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