In a shocking incident that unfolded on Monday morning, a man armed with a metal baseball bat launched a brutal attack on two members of Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly's staff at his district office in northern Virginia.
The assailant—identified as a 49-year-old man from Fairfax, Virginia—is now in police custody and faces serious charges of aggravated malicious wounding and malicious wounding.
You can watch a news report about the attack below.
Connolly addressed the attack in a statement to reporters:
"Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need. My District Office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day."
"The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff's accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating."
At the time of the assault, Connolly was attending a ribbon-cutting event at a nearby food bank, completely unaware of the events about to transpire in his absence.
According to reports from the U.S. Capitol Police, the perpetrator arrived at Connolly's office shortly before 11 a.m. on Monday.
Displaying a disturbing lack of regard for human life, he approached an intern who was beginning her first day on the job and inquired about the Congressman's whereabouts.
The intern informed the man that Connolly was not present in the office. Enraged, the assailant resorted to violence, battering the unsuspecting intern with the metal baseball bat.
The sound of the attack alerted other staffers, who rushed to the reception area only to find themselves confronted by the assailant's rage. One senior aide sustained a severe blow to the head.
One of the staff members convinced the assailant they would retrieve Connolly for him. This diversion allowed the rest of the staff to find safety and contact the authorities.
Many condemned the attack as spurred by GOP rhetoric that has contributed to more political violence nationwide.
As investigators delve into the motive behind this incident, no clear explanation has yet emerged.
The Capitol Police, working in conjunction with the Fairfax City Police Department, are engaged in a thorough investigation to shed light on the attacker's motivations and any potential connections or prior history.
The assault on Congressman Connolly's staff serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers faced by public officials and their dedicated personnel. In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in incidents involving threats and acts of violence against members of Congress.