Brian Michael Gaherty, 60, was arrested Friday and indicted on eight counts related to threats against the U.S. representative for California’s 43rd congressional district, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in a statement.
In an Aug. 8 voicemail, the suspect allegedly said he would “cut your throat,” according to an affidavit provided by a special agent with the U.S. Capitol Police. He also made racial comments and left threatening voicemails at the offices of two other congressional members who are people of color, the affidavit further stated.
Gaherty was indicted on four counts of making threats in interstate communications and four counts of threatening a United States official and is currently free on bond in Texas, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. An arraignment has not been scheduled at the time of this writing.
“Threats directed against members of Congress have been on the rise for years but dipped slightly in 2022,” according to an NBC News report. “Capitol Police have said they investigated more than 7,500 threats or potential threats against lawmakers last year. In 2021, when the Jan. 6 riot took place, threat cases jumped to 9,625. There were only 3,939 cases investigated in 2017.”
In October, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened up about the level of threats her office received daily in a New York Times article examining the increased amount of threats members of Congress have received in recent years.
The representative for New York’s 14th congressional district said it took her two and a half years to receive the additional requests she needed for her safety. She also expressed concern that members of Congress who are not high-ranking are more likely to be in harm’s way.