Armed man arrested outside Pramila Jayapal’s home accused of making death threats against her

‘Go back to India, I’m going to kill you,’ man allegedly yelled outside Congresswoman’s Seattle home

Bevan Hurley
Friday 15 July 2022 16:18 BST
Pramila Jayapal: the congresswoman trying to provide healthcare for all Americans

Police in Seattle arrested an armed man who allegedly yelled death threats at Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal at her home.

Ms Jayapal called 911 at 11.25pm on Saturday night to report a man in a vehicle outside her residence had been using “obscene language”, according to a police report obtained by King5 news.

“(My) husband thinks they may have shot a pellet gun, but unsure,” Ms Jayapal told police.

Officers arrived to find a man standing in the middle of the street with his arms in the air and a .40-caliber Glock 22 handgun holstered to his waist, according to the incident report.

They said the 48-year-old suspect knew the Democratic Congresswoman lived at the address and had wanted to pitch a tent on her property.

The suspect was arrested just before midnight on suspicion of committing a hate crime.

Neighbours told police the man had driven past Ms Jayapal’s property several times yelling racial obscenities.

One told police she heard the man say: “Go back to India, I’m going to kill you.”

In a statement, Ms Jayapal confirmed she was at home at the time of the incident.

“The Congresswoman and her family are safe and appreciate the many calls and good wishes she is receiving from constituents,” the statement read.

Pramila Jayapal thanks law enforcement for their ‘swift and professional response’
Pramila Jayapal thanks law enforcement for their ‘swift and professional response’ (Associated Press)

“She is very grateful for the swift and professional response from the Seattle Police Department, the US Capitol Police, and the FBI investigators who are working together diligently on the investigation, and ensuring that she and her family stay safe.”

She declined to comment further, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.

The suspect was released on Wednesday because police couldn’t say with certainty that he had threatened to kill the congresswoman, according to King County prosecutors.

Seattle police obtained a temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order on Wednesday to require the man to surrender his firearms and concealed pistol licence, citing concerns about escalating behavior toward Ms Jayapal and increasing mental health struggles.

“In a time of increased political violence, security concerns against any elected official should be taken seriously, as we are doing here,” Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said.

“The investigation is ongoing and our office is working with police investigators to make sure we understand the full extent of the suspect’s actions to build the strongest case possible.”

Ms Jayapal, 56, was born in India and immigrated to the United States at the age of 16 to attend college.

In 2016, Ms Jayapal became the first Indian American woman elected to the US House of Representatives and heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in