Seattle police arrested an armed man suspected of a hate crime for appearing outside the house of U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D, WA-07) and threatening to kill her.
The 56-year-old congresswoman called the police at 11:25 p.m. to report individuals in a vehicle yelling obscenities outside her home.
“People are outside [my] house in their [vehicle] who have been [using] very obscene language,” Jayapal reported. “[My] husband thinks they may have shot a pellet gun, but unsure.”
Police responded to Jayapal’s West Seattle home and found a man in the middle of the street with his hands in the air. The man also had a .40-caliber handgun holstered on his waist, according to the police report. The firearm was secured, and the 48-year-old man has been arrested.
Police noted that 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.”
A neighbor told police she heard the man yell, “Go back to India, I’m going to kill you.” She said she also saw the suspect drive by Jayapal’s house at least three times while yelling profanities.
“Congresswoman Jayapal confirms that incidents occurred at her Seattle home on Saturday night when she was present,” spokesperson Siham Zniber wrote in a statement. “The Congresswoman and her family are safe and appreciate the many calls and good wishes she is receiving from constituents.”
“She is very grateful for the swift and professional response from the Seattle Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI investigators who are working together diligently on the investigation and ensuring that she and her family stay safe,” Zniber added.
Jayapal provided no further comments due to the ongoing police investigation, according to the statement.
The man, who reportedly lives about half a mile from Jayapal, was ordered by a judge on Monday to be jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail. The King County Prosecutors called the suspect a “danger to the community.”
He is currently detained in the King County Jail awaiting the prosecutor’s criminal charges on Wednesday. There is probable cause for the man to be charged with a hate crime.
Jayapal, who was born in Chennai, India, has served as the U.S. representative from Washington’s 7th congressional district since 2017. The congresswoman was a former state senator who became the first Indian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Featured Image via Washington Post