March 26th, 2010
03:29 PM ET
13 years ago

Cantor's staff tries to clarify gunshot claim

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="'Cantor's staff said he was happy to find out that police attributed the incident to random gunfire."]

Washington (CNN) - Staffers to a top House GOP member sought to clarify an earlier claim of political violence against him Friday after police determined that a bullet shot at his local campaign office was the result of random gunfire.

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told reporters Thursday that a bullet had been shot through the window of his Richmond office - supposedly part of an escalating cycle of violence and threats in the wake of Sunday's sharply polarized health care reform vote.

Richmond police later determined, however, that Cantor had not been targeted by political opponents. Instead, they concluded, the incident was a consequence of "random gunfire."

"Given a recent spike in threats against Representative Cantor, he, his family and his security were concerned the bullet found in his campaign office was related to a number of violent e-mails and phone messages, many of them anti-Semitic and some of them threatening gun violence," Cantor spokesman John Murray said.

The congressman "was very happy to find out that police attributed this particular incident to random gunfire," Murray said. Now "we need to move on."

Cantor said Thursday that he had been "directly threatened." Hours later, however, the Richmond Police Department provided a statement noting that a preliminary investigation concluded "that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the windowpanebut did not penetrate the window blinds."

The statement noted that "was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman."

Murray said law enforcement officials had told Cantor before he spoke with reporters that police were investigating the possibility he was being targeted.

Brad Dayspring, another Cantor spokesman, said staffers called the Richmond Police Department 30 minutes before Cantor's news conference and were told the matter was under investigation.

Dayspring said that, as far as he knows, no Cantor staffers knew about the preliminary findings mentioned in Thursday's police statement until hours after the congressman spoke to reporters.

Cantor slammed Democrats Thursday for supposedly exploiting threatening emails and phone messages for political gain. The only Jewish Republican in Congress, Cantor said he has received threatening messages for years.

Until now, Cantor has not made a practice of discussing the threats in public, according to Murray.

Most of the publicized threats in the wake of the health care vote have been directed against Democrats.

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soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Harry

    All these Repubican Leaders are Chicken Hawks. I wouldn't waste my urine on ANY of them even if they spontaniously cumbusted right in front of me.

    March 26, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. goobs

    The Republicans are at it anyone surprised by this? And on top of it all, Faux News tried to make it racial by saying that Eric Cantor is the highest ranking Jewish member of congress. A question to Eric, if you were getting threatening messages, why did you wait until now to talk about them. STOP LYING!!!

    March 26, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It's a little late to try to re-work his lie.

    March 26, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. They call me "tater salad"

    Oh, so now we're supposed to believe that Cantor is somehow a victim of his teabagger buddies all of a sudden?.............Give me a break.......Hey Cantor, here's a news flash for ya!.........Not everyone is a deaf, dumb and blind sheep, just the 300 strong army of idiots you clowns call supporters!!!.............. Get real loser!!!!

    March 26, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Peter Vaguely

    The only shot fired in anger turns out to be Cantor shooting off his big mouth!

    March 26, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. CMG

    Eric, it always pays to get the true facts before attempting to come up with explanations on national television. However, being a member of the GOP, I sense that strategy is difficult.

    March 26, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. ED FL

    that wimp Cantor is the least impressive Jerk in the GOP.{THEIR IS A TON OF THEM].I am surprised he didn't cut his finger when he broke the window. CANTOR and BONER are terrible representative for politicians with integrity. the tanning tub and PROBABLY a closet are their favorite secret places to sit and tell one another how great they are.Sooner or later they must come out where the country can see what leaders they really are and no one is impressed.

    March 26, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. azpete

    Interesting how right-wing fantics like "Biased" equate strong disapproval with "hatred". Seems like they can't handle the idea of someone disagreeing with them; one of the basic tenets of democracy. I suppose it might be because that's the way they think and act, as they are manipulated by their talk radio puppet masters, so they think everyone is that way.

    March 26, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. John

    Cantor, Palin, Beck and other have been inciting violence every day and now he claims that he's the victim, bullcrap.

    The republicans have been using a strategy of lies and hate ever since President Obama got elected and anybody that can't see this is either blind or one of them.

    March 26, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. RAG

    I thought it was fishy. Cantor is acting in the great tradition of agents provocateur through out history. Reichstag fire, anyone?

    March 26, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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