Home / World / 2 Arrested At GOP Senator's Office, One For Threat Referencing Scalise Shooting – TPM

2 Arrested At GOP Senator's Office, One For Threat Referencing Scalise Shooting – TPM

Two men were arrested outside the Tucson, Arizona office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Thursday for third degree criminal trespassing during a protest. One of the men was also charged with misdemeanor threats and intimidation.

In a statement, Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Cody Gress told TPM that police had been called to Flake’s office with reports of threats.

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 prohibiting access to the office from the protestors,” the statement said.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was seriously wounded when a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball practice in June. Sen. Flake was at the practice and described the incident at length to reporters afterward.

In an email to TPM, a spokesperson for Flake described the exchange in which Prichard made the alleged threat.

You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem?” Prichard allegedly asked.

“No,” a Flake staffer responded.

“They are going to get better aim,” Prichard allegedly said. “That last guy tried, but he needed better aim.  We will get better aim.”

The spokesperson said the matter had been referred to Capitol Police.

According to the PCSD statement, protester Mark Prichard (pictured above left), 59, “made it a point to step back onto the property after being told not to do so and was immediately arrested.”

When a staffer for Flake opened the office’s door to hand information to the protesters, according to the police statement, another protester, Patrick Diehl (pictured above right), 70, “tried to force his way into the office and passed the staffer.” He was also arrested.

“Upon further review of the evidence and statements made by Mark Prichard to the staff at Sen Flake’s office, he has also been charged with Threats and Intimidation (Class 1 Misdemeanor) on top of the 3rd Degree Criminal Trespass charge,” the statement said.

It added: “No force was used in apprehending either of the two men, and no violence occurred from the protest itself.”

Responding to TPM’s questions, Gress said Prichard and Diehl were scheduled to appear in front of a judge at 8:00 p.m. local time to decide bail and future trial dates.

Read Gress’ full statement below:

This morning just before 9:00 a.m. local time, Pima County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the office of Senator Jeff Flake at 6840 North Oracle Road for reports of threats. Deputies arrived and encountered some protestors outside of Sen. Flake’s office. Staffers working at the office indicated one of the protestors 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 prohibiting access to the office from the protestors. The office is a rented space on privately owned property, and the property management company as well as the staff at Sen. Flake’s office indicated they wanted the protestor who made the comments to be trespassed. Deputies made contact with the protestor who was on an easement off property grounds and informed him he was not allowed back on the property. The protestor made it a point to step back onto the property after being told not to do so and was immediately arrested forCriminal Trespass in the 3rd Degree (Class 1 Misdemeanor). This person was identified as 59-year-old Mark Prichard.

The office was still not allowing protestors into the office at this point, when a staffer opened the door to pass out informational packets which the protestors could submit to the office with their concerns. When the staffer opened the door to hand these out, a protestor tried to force his way into the office and passed the staffer. He was immediately arrested for Criminal Trespass in the 3rdDegree as well. He was identified as 70-year-old Patrick Diehl. Both men were transported to the Pima County Adult Detention Complex for their charges. The remaining protestors were allowed to be on the property 5 at a time from that point forward, and the remaining protest time was peaceful.

Upon further review of the evidence and statements made by Mark Prichard to the staff at Sen Flake’s office, he has also been charged with Threats and Intimidation (Class 1 Misdemeanor) on top of the 3rd Degree Criminal Trespass charge.

Please call Sen. Flake’s office for information on whether or not those comments will be forwarded to Capitol Police. No force was used in apprehending either of the two men, and no violence occurred from the protest itself. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind everyone that Sen. Flake’s office is not public property, but is rented space in a privately owned business area.

H/t Tucson News Now.

This post has been updated.

Source: world

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