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Connolly staffers hospitalized after assailant with bat enters district office

Workers are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, congressman says

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An individual armed with a metal baseball bat entered the Fairfax, Va., district office of Rep. Gerald E. Connolly on Monday morning, asked for the congressman and then allegedly assaulted two staffers with the bat. 

Both staffers were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to a tweet from Connolly, the Virginia Democrat who has represented the state’s 11th District since 2009. Connolly was not in the office at the time of the assaults, Capitol Police said.

The City of Fairfax Police Department arrested the suspect. Capitol Police identified the alleged assailant as Xuan Kha Tran Pham, 49, of Fairfax. He faces charges of one count of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding.

“At this time, it is not clear what the suspect’s motivation may have been,” Capitol Police said in a statement. “Based on what we know right now, investigators do not have any information that the suspect was known to the USCP.”

Special agents with the United States Capitol Police Threat Assessment Section were dispatched to the scene, while Capitol Police coordinated with City of Fairfax Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office in the investigation.

“I have the best team in Congress. My District Office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day,” Connolly tweeted Monday afternoon. “The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”

Connolly said the attacker was in police custody, and the congressman thanked the City of Fairfax Police Department and emergency medical personnel for their response.

“Right now, our focus is on ensuring they [the staffers] are receiving the care they need,” Connolly tweeted.

Before running for office, Connolly, 73, worked for roughly a decade as a staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the late 1970s and 1980s. He served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for more than a decade before coming to Congress.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger has repeatedly voiced concerns in congressional hearings about increasing threats to lawmakers. Those concerns are often raised in connection with pleas for budgetary increases, as threats against members are up approximately 400 percent over the past six years, Manger has said.

In the last several months alone, Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., was attacked in her Washington, D.C., apartment building and a staffer for Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., suffered life-threatening injuries after being stabbed on H Street.

Manger’s latest budget request, about a 14 percent increase over fiscal 2023 enacted levels, would include additional money to protect members and their staff in D.C., as well as in their home districts.

“The safety of our Members and of our staff remains of paramount importance, particularly given the increased instances of political violence in our country,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said in a statement following Monday’s attack. 

Jeffries said he reached out to Connolly and asked the House sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police to “continue their focus on collaborating with our members.”

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