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.

Filed under: Eric Cantor • Popular Posts
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Tom, St Paul

    So now that we know Cantor was not a target, will Cantor recant his plea yesterday that the violence has "got to stop"?

    March 26, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Typical – after the republicans stir everyone up with hate, fear, lies, they want to "move ahead". We've been trying to move this country ahead for almost 2 years and all we got was obstructionism, lies, fear, hate.

    March 26, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Tom, St Paul

    You can bet Cantor wouldn't want to discuss antisemitic emails he receives. He knows that the people who send them are most likely registered members of own party.

    March 26, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. billy

    Eric Cantor = Liar

    March 26, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rep. Cantor there isn't enough detergent to clean up the crap you spewed yesterday.

    YOU were fanning the flames of hate and divisiveness.
    YOU were looking to profit from the very real threat posed to other individuals.


    March 26, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Disgusted John

    Cantor is making a big drama out of this random shot through his window to draw attention away from the real violence that the lunatic fringe of the right is actually perpetrating, with right political figures actively giving subliminal encouragement to it.

    March 26, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. JacksonHole

    Will the media call Mr. Cantor on his obvious lie to deflect attention from the REAL threats made against Democrats? Of course not.

    March 26, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Ben in Texas

    So Cantor, you weasel, how about a big old apology to the Democrats you insulted yesterday?

    Being a Repugnant means you never, under any circumstances, take responsibility or apologize, ain't that right? When you're caught in a lie, like you are now, Eric my boy, you just want to "move on" as fast as possible.

    Man up, Eric.

    March 26, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. billy

    It wasn't even his campaign office, at least I hope it wasn't since it isn't located in the district he represents.

    March 26, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. 8 Years of “trickle down economics” has only left a wet spot on working America's shoes!

    Of course, he knew about the police report before his "news conference" in which he blamed the true victims the Democratic Congressmen and leader as "fanning the flames".

    It is obvious that Cantor is the one "playing political games" over events threatening violence and trying to downplay the violence he and his party of racist red necks has stirred up

    And it is not "clarification" it is called lying and then back-peddling.

    March 26, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Jacq

    I knew it

    March 26, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Roger Whipple

    I am really surprised that Republican would lie and make something up?I? Shock!!! Maybe he might find all the weapons of mass descrution! Oh What that was a lie!

    March 26, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Vic of New York

    Knowing "Erica" and his constant whining and moaning...

    It would not surprise me to learn that he had STAGED the entire incident as a publicity stunt to draw attention away from the lunatic TEA Party fringe and hate mongering that Republicans have been stoking.

    I guess Eric of all people whould be happy that the new DOD rules prevent any third party from outing gays. See, Eric, it's safe for you to join now.

    March 26, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. vette gal

    OMG, they even lied about this. Clarify my A__! All this to try to make the country believe these so called threats are about the health care bill that passed, LOL. I, for one, would like to see the proof of threatening e-mails before I believe that as well. All these republicans know how to do is lie, lie, lie. And...Murray who is his spokesman, says he's been receiving threats for years. Why anyone would vote for them is beyond me. He might receive threatening e-mails because he's Jewish but not because he's a republican or because of the health care bill.

    March 26, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Big Mowma

    How about the deaths of Iraqi and Afghan civilians due to "errant gunfire" because of an illegal war and occupation? Do you suppose he got a little taste of what his policies have created for innocent bystanders?

    March 26, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. shucks

    I guess he can't manufacture any more lies about being targeted, when democrats all over the country are actually living through the hell of republican hatred and vitriole. The half hearted denouncing of violence against democrats is sickening. Some in areas where violence has occured the republican counterparts have not even opened their mouths to condemn it. What a sorry bunch of losers.

    March 26, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Cantor needs to apologize for raising the heat on partisan violence on Capitol Hill. He was suppose to simply condemn violence, throw in more chips.

    March 26, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. beevee

    Nice try Mr. Cantor! try to put the blame on democrats.

    March 26, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. Robin

    Wow. The police called you out. What are you going to lie about now?

    March 26, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Sue

    So, according to CNN and the Libbies.........Now that the police have determined that Cantor was not targeted by the shot---the threats, etc do not matter because it is happening to a Republican instead of a Democrat.

    The Democrats are going to keep milking this, and it is going to backfire in their faces--just like what happened the first time that they attacked the Tea Parties last Summer. In other words, it is going to turn even more people against them.

    After the majority in the country learned of the bribes, back room deals, threats, etc. to get their health care disaster passed--–the Democrats are no longer credible to the majority, and the majority in the country will be able to see right through their games, manipulations, and lies.

    March 26, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Milt

    Who cares. The only reason any of this was brought up is the liberal democrats in conjunction with the media are trying to deamonize dissent.. The whole purpose is to divert attention from the bribes and intimidation through which they imposed Obamacare.

    March 26, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. geecee

    Is this all you got Cantor. Just you? The Democrats who voted for the health care bill have been bombarded with insults, threats, obscene phone calls, envelopes with powder in them, etc. And all you got is an errant bullethole in your building? Lucky you! It's a little bit late to denounce this type of behavior now, don't you think Cantor? After stoking the fires over and over, you Republicans, Fox Noise channel and conservative talk radio have done an irreversible job of inciting your listeners to this point where they are becoming dangerous to their fellow Americans. Shame on all of you. Disgraceful and disgusting.

    March 26, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Johnny B

    Now who is trying to capitalize on violence Eric Cantor?

    March 26, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. SH

    You Lie!!!

    March 26, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. LiLa

    What a world we live in when Rep. Cantor can be "happy" that the bullet hole came from random gunfire.

    March 26, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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