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BREAKING: Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff members assaulted in Fairfax City

Rep. Gerry Connolly has a Fairfax District Office in the 10680 Mainland Building in Fairfax City (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 9:20 p.m.) Two members of Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff were assaulted this morning by a Fairfax resident with a baseball bat.

The City of Fairfax Police Department and the United States Capitol Police (USCP) are investigating the incident at 10680 Main Street, Suite 140. The suspect has been arrested, while the victims were taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.

According to police, 49-year old Xuan-Kha Tran Pham entered Connolly’s Fairfax District Office in the Mainland Building around 10:49 a.m., carrying a metal baseball bat and used it to assault two staffers. One police officer also “sustained a minor injury and is receiving medical treatment,” Fairfax City police said.

Connolly wasn’t present at the time. The injured staffers included a senior aide and an intern who was on her first day of work, according to his office.

“Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need,” Connolly said in a statement. “We are incredibly thankful to the City of Fairfax Police Department and emergency medical professionals for their quick response.”

Pham has been charged with one count of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding, according to police. He’s being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

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

Fairfax City police and the USCP are working with the FBI’s Washington Field Office on the investigation.

The Capitol Police says it has recorded an approximately 400% increase in threats against members of Congress over the past six years, with USCP Chief Tom Manger testifying before Congress that the world has become “more violent and uncertain” particularly over the past year.

“We are just extremely, extremely happy that this wasn’t worse,” a Fairfax City police spokesperson told NBC4.

As first reported by NBC4, before going to Connolly’s office, Pham allegedly smashed a woman’s car windshield with the baseball bat shortly after 10:30 a.m. in the Chantilly area. The woman was reportedly sitting in the car when Pham approached her and asked if she was white.

The Fairfax County Police Department obtained warrants for Pham charging him with property destruction and a hate crime, but he wasn’t located until the assault in Connolly’s office.

Connolly, a Democrat who represents Virginia’s 11th Congressional District in the House of Representatives, also has an office on Capitol Hill in D.C.

“I have the best team in Congress,” Connolly said. “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.”

Fairfax County General District Court records indicate that a Fairfax resident by the name of Xuan Kha Tran Pham faced charges related to an encounter with law enforcement officers on Jan. 12, 2022. The case was dropped nolle prosequi at a preliminary hearing on Sept. 12, 2022.

It’s unclear whether the defendant in that case was the same person as the suspect in the assault at Connolly’s office, but a source in the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office says the charges stemmed from grappling with officers who responded to a mental health crisis.

The charges were dropped after Pham complied with a six-month period of supervision by a probation officer where he was connected with mental health services.

As news of the assault spread, Connolly’s colleagues in Congress and local public officials quickly rallied around him.

“No one should be in fear for their safety for simply doing their job,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “My thoughts are with Gerry’s staff and hope they make a speedy recovery.”

“The idea that this kind of violence could take place in our community is unconscionable,” Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw said. “I know all of us in @fairfaxcounty will be thinking of the dedicated public servants who were the victims of this attack & wishing them a speedy recovery.”

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, the lone Republican on the county’s Board of Supervisors, said he “was shocked and disheartened to learn of the attack” at Connolly’s office.

“Staff members of our offices often work together to assist our mutual constituents. My best wishes go out to them for a speedy recovery,” he said.

Rep. Don Beyer called the attack “very, very scary,” while Sen. Mark Warner said it was “an extraordinarily disturbing development.”

“Intimidation and violence — especially against public servants — has no place in our society,” Warner said. “…My thoughts are with the staff members who were injured.”

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee issued a statement condemning “the violence that has occurred today,” calling on its Republican counterpart to do the same.

“As Democrats, we believe in the power of peaceful and respectful discourse to advance our policies and ideas. As Americans, we have a civic duty to uphold our democracy and the rule of law,” FCDC Chair Bryan Graham said. “We affirm our commitment to a safe and inclusive community where all members can be heard and express themselves freely.”

Fairfax County Republican Committee Chairman Steve Knotts said in a statement that the Fairfax GOP is “shocked and outraged by this awful news.”

“Our hearts go out to Congressman Connolly, his staff, and their loved ones today. Everyone — whether a public servant or private citizen — deserves to feel safe in their place of employment,” Knotts said. “In the face of senseless violence, we are reminded of our shared humanity, and must stand together as one.”

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, said his “prayers are with Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff.”

“Violence does not belong in our political system and my prayers are with Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff for a speedy recovery,” Youngkin said in a tweet at 3:18 p.m.. “We’ve seen this against our judiciary, we’ve seen this against our legislative branch and it has no place in our Commonwealth.”

Photo via Google Maps

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