NATIONAL NEWS

Man accused in baseball bat attack of congressional staffers now facing federal charges

May 17, 2023, 2:57 PM

The Fairfax, Va., office of Rep. Gerry Connelly, D-Va., is shown on Monday, May 15, 2023, after pol...

The Fairfax, Va., office of Rep. Gerry Connelly, D-Va., is shown on Monday, May 15, 2023, after police said a man with a metal baseball bat walked into the office, asked for Connelly, and then struck two members of his staff with the bat. Fairfax City Police in northern Virginia said in a tweet that a suspect is in custody and the victims are being treated for injuries that are not life-threatening. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

FALLS CHURCH. Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia man charged with assaulting two congressional staffers in their Virginia office with a baseball bat is now facing federal charges as well.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia announced Wednesday that Xuan-Kha Tran Pham, 49, of Fairfax, has been charged in federal court in Alexandria with assaulting federal employees.

Pham was arrested Monday and already charged in state court with malicious wounding and aggravated malicious wounding after police say he struck two staffers for Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., with an aluminum bat.

An FBI affidavit accompanying the federal charges contained a few new details. According to the affidavit, Pham burst through the front door of the office and immediately struck Connolly’s outreach director in the head.

As Pham continued to strike the woman, an intern who was on her first day at the job tried to flee. Pham then struck her in the ribs, according to the affidavit. He then returned to hitting the outreach director, saying “I’m going to kill you” and “you’re going to die,” according to the affidavit.

The outreach director estimated that Pham struck her about eight times.

A witness to the attack said Pham was calling for “Gerry” and said he wanted to talk to Connolly, who was not at the office.

The two staffers were taken to the hospital and released later Monday.

According to the affidavit, Pham had called the district office three times in February; a staffer said Pham’s words were “gibberish about DNA and God.”

Pham’s father told The Washington Post that his son suffers from schizophrenia.

Last year, Pham was charged in Fairfax County with assaulting a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. The commonwealth attorney’s office said it agreed to drop the charges because Pham was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of his arrest and he had complied with requirements to seek treatment.

Last year, Pham sued the Central Intelligence Agency in the same federal court where he is now charged criminally, claiming that the CIA had been torturing him “from the fourth dimension,” court records show.

Pham is also facing a hate crime charge in an attack on a woman just minutes before the congressional staffers were assaulted. Police say Pham chased a woman with a bat and struck her windshield, asking her if she was white.

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Man accused in baseball bat attack of congressional staffers now facing federal charges