US

A man with a metal baseball bat has attacked two employees at a politician’s office in the US.

Democratic congressman Gerry Connolly said the man walked into his northern Virginia office on Monday morning, asked for him, and then struck two female workers with the bat.

One of the victims, an intern on her first day in the job, was struck in the side, while another, an outreach director, was struck on the head.

Fairfax City Police said officers arrived minutes after the attack and detained the man.

Mr Connolly, who is serving his eighth term in congress, was not in his office at the time.

The injuries suffered by the two staff members were not life-threatening.

He said that the suspect was known to police, adding: “[The suspect] has never made threats to us, so it was unprovoked, unexpected and inexplicable.

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“I have no reason to believe that his motivation was politically motivated, but it is possible that the sort of toxic political environment we all live in, you know, set him off, and I would just hope all of us would take a little more time to be careful about what we say and how we say it.”

Police named the suspect as Xuan-Kha Tran Pham, 49, of Fairfax.

He is being held without bond on charges of malicious wounding and aggravated malicious wounding.

He is also suspected of being involved in another attack earlier on the same day, where a woman was approached while sitting in her parked car.

The attacker asked the woman if she was white and then hit her car windscreen with a bat before running away, police said. The woman was not injured.

A video taken from a neighbour’s camera showed a man chasing a woman with a bat at the place where police said the earlier incident occurred.

Xuan-Kha’s father Hy Pham told the Washington Post that his son was schizophrenic and had suffered from mental illness since his late teens.

He had been trying to get mental health care for his son, but without success, he said.

The US Capitol Police investigated about 7,500 cases of potential threats against members of Congress last year.

In 2021, the number was approximately 10,000, which was more than twice the number investigated four years earlier.

Last October, a man broke into the San Francisco home of then House speaker Nancy Pelosi, demanding to speak with her before attacking her husband with a hammer.

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