A 48-year-old man was arrested outside the Seattle home of Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal late Saturday night after allegedly shouting obscenities and death threats in multiple drive-bys. Jayapal was also one of 27 House Democrats to reject enhanced security measures for Supreme Court justices after sustained protests at the judges’ homes.
Saturday’s suspect, one neighbor told police according to King 5 News, screamed “Go back to India, I’m going to kill you!”
The threats led Jayapal at 11:25 p.m. local time to dial 911 and report: “[Unknown] people are outside [my] house in their [vehicle] who have been [using] very obscene language. [My] husband thinks they may have shot a pellet gun, but unsure.”
“When police arrived, they said they found the man in the middle of the street with his hands in the air and a handgun holstered on his waist,” King 5 News reported. “Police wrote the man ‘knew who lived at the residence and wanted to pitch a tent on their property. [and that] the victim that he was targeting was of Indian descent.”
According to The Seattle Times, the suspect was released from jail on Wednesday while a “hate crime” investigation is ongoing. His .40-caliber handgun and firearm license were temporarily confiscated over mental health concerns.
While an exact motive remains unclear, the episode highlights growing concerns of threats against public figures including judges and legislators in an increasingly tense political environment.
Last month, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh faced a left-wing assassination attempt at his Maryland home. Armed with a knife and gun, Nicholas John Roske, 26, reportedly traveled to Maryland with the intent to “kill the Supreme Court Justice” after being “upset” by a leaked draft opinion which overturned Roe v. Wade, according to The Washington Post.
The assassination effort followed weeks of mob demonstrations outside justices’ homes in the aftermath of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked to the press in May. The court ultimately issued the opinion at the end of its term overturning Roe‘s concocted right to an abortion after nearly 50 years.
The threat presented to members of the high bench led Congress to pass enhanced security for justices and their families, despite resistance from Democrats like Jayapal. The Supreme Court Police Parity Act of 2022 was signed into law in mid-June with overwhelming bipartisan support, over the objections of 27 House Democrats including Jayapal who voted no.