A Seattle man faces a hate crime charge after he was accused of yelling racist threats outside the home of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., while he was packing a handgun.
Brett Allen Forsell, 48, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail after he was arrested in King County near Jayapal's home late Saturday. Prosecutors have said that probable cause was found for a hate crime and that they could make a charging decision as soon as Wednesday.
A neighbor told police that the suspect had been yelling "go back to India" and "I'm going to kill you," according to court filings.
Jayapal, the first Indian American woman elected to the U.S. House, was home at the time. In a statement this week, her office said, "The Congresswoman and her family are safe and appreciate the many calls and good wishes she is receiving from constituents."
"She is very grateful for the swift and professional response from the Seattle Police Department, the US Capitol Police, and the FBI investigators who are working together diligently on the investigation, and ensuring that she and her family stay safe. Because this is an ongoing investigation, she will not be commenting further at this time.”
Prosecutors said in court filings that Forsell had a .40-caliber handgun holstered on his waist when authorities arrived. Police said they had responded to a call that someone in a vehicle outside Jayapal's home was yelling “very obscene language.”
A witness said the person “may have shot a pellet gun but unsure," and another person said she saw the suspect drive by the residence about three times.
Police said Forsell acknowledged that he "knew who lived at the residence and wanted to pitch a tent on their property."
Last month, an armed man was arrested near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after he called 911 on himself. When police detained him, the man said he was there to kill the justice. The suspect, Nicholas John Roske, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted murder of a federal judge.