Jan 4, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Florida man charged with threatening to kill Swalwell and his children

 Eric Swalwell (D-CA) speaks at a press conference on committee assignments for the 118th U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 25, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Rep. Eric Swalwell on Capitol Hill last year. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A Florida man was arrested Wednesday and charged with threatening to kill a U.S. Congress member and his children.

The big picture: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) confirmed he and his family were the targets after the Department of Justice announced the arrest of 72-year-old suspect Michael Shapiro, but did not identify the Congress member.

  • Swalwell was previously the target of death threats in another case, for which Joshua Hall, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, was last month sentenced to 20 months in prison.

Driving the news: Shapiro is accused of placing threatening calls from his home in Greenacres to Swalwell's congressional office in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 19, according to an emailed statement from the DOJ Wednesday evening.

  • In one of five voicemail messages, Shapiro allegedly said that he was going to "come after you and kill you," per the Justice Department. In another message, he stated that he was going to "come and kill your children."

What they're saying: "No threat is going to stop me from representing my constituents," Swalwell said in a post to X in which he vowed that he was "not going away."

State of play: Shapiro made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday morning, the DOJ said.

  • Prosecutors allege that Shapiro pleaded guilty in federal court in 2019 for making threatening communications to another victim.

Zoom out: Threats against Congress members have surged in recent years and House Democrats last month launched a task force on lawmakers' security in response to this.

Go deeper: Bomb threats force evacuation of state capitols across U.S.

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