There was a protest outside Senator Jeff Flake’s office in Tucson Thursday morning. Two men were arrested for trespassing and one of them, Mark Prichard, allegedly made a reference to the Alexandria shooting in a conversation with Flake’s staff. ABC 15 reports this is the exchange Flake’s office says took place between Prichard and a staffer:
Prichard: You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem?
Him: They are going to get better aim. That last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim.
There doesn’t seem to be video or audio of the threat but the police did add a charge of Threats and Intimidation against Prichard after he was arrested. The “last guy” in this statement is obviously a reference to James Hodkinson, the man who shot five people at a GOP baseball practice last month. Tucson News now has details on what happened leading up to the arrest:
Deputy Cody Gress, spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, said Mark Prichard and Patrick Diehl were arrested on charges of third-degree criminal trespass Thursday morning, July 6.
Gress said the 59-year-old Prichard is also facing a misdemeanor charge of threats and intimidation.
“Staffers working at the office indicated one of the protesters had made comments referencing the shooting of Rep. Scalise, which prompted them to call the Sheriff’s Department as well as lock the office doors,” the PCSD said in a news release.
It’s worth noting that Sen. Flake was there on the field in Alexandria the day James Hodkinson opened fire. He was the person who called Rep. Scalise’s wife to let her know what had happened. From AZ Central:
Flake was standing along the first base line when the gunman opened fire. As the gunman and Capitol Police exchanged gunfire, Flake took cover in the dugout,” Flake’s statement said. “While in the dugout, Flake helped treat one aide who, after being shot in the leg near center field, managed to get into the dugout. Flake estimates more than 50 shots were fired. Immediately after the gunfire stopped, Flake ran onto the field and began to apply pressure on Congressman Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) wound. After medical personnel arrived, Flake retrieved Scalise’s phone and made the first call to Scalise’s wife to notify her of the shooting. He did to ensure that Mrs. Scalise would not find out about the shooting through the media.
This threat is just one of several that have been made against GOP members of Congress in the past few months. Rep. Martha McSally was threatened in May by a Tucson school district employee who said he would wring her neck or shoot her in the face. Also in May, Rep. David Kustoff was allegedly followed by a woman who eventually got out of her car and banged on his car while screaming and cursing. Last month, Rep. Claudia Tenney received an emailed threat which also made reference to the Alexandria shooting. The subject of the email was “One down, 216 to go,” a reference to GOP members who had voted for a House health reform bill.
Late last month the Sergeant at Arms for the House of Representatives indicated his office had investigated more threats (950) against Members of Congress in the first six months of 2017 than in all of 2016, though he did not break down the threats by which party they targeted. Here’s video of Sen. Flake describing the Alexandria shooting: