WASHINGTON — The man accused of coming to the Washington area last week to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh texted his sister after walking away from the justice’s house, and she urged him to call 911, police said Wednesday.
“His sister did the most honorable thing. She convinced him to contact 911 in order to turn himself in and potentially to get help,” said Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County, Maryland, police department.
“No doubt in my mind she potentially saved a life. She might have saved multiple lives, understanding what kind of confrontation could have occurred,” he said in an interview with NBC affiliate WRC-TV, referring to the defendant's sister, Olivia Roske.
Nicholas Roske was arrested around 1:30 a.m. ET on June 8 a block from Kavanaugh’s house in Maryland. According to a recording of the 911 call released by state authorities, he said he had traveled from his home in Simi Valley, California, to kill Kavanaugh and then himself.
Roske said he’d been having homicidal and suicidal thoughts for a long time and had been frequently hospitalized. “I need psychiatric help,” he told the 911 operator.
Court documents said he had a gun in his suitcase as well as a knife, pepper spray and burglary tools. The FBI said he had flown to Washington and took a taxi directly to Kavanaugh’s house. Investigators said that after spotting two federal marshals outside the house, Roske walked away and later called 911.
Roske was formally indicted Wednesday on one count of attempting to assassinate a justice of the United States, a week after he was initially charged with attempting to murder Kavanaugh. This charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Security for Supreme Court justices was increased after protesters began demonstrating outside some of their homes last month, following the leak of a draft ruling that called for overturning Roe v. Wade. On Tuesday, Congress passed a bill to extend federal security protection to family members of the justices. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law.