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. Sue

    I will do my part and help the Libbies to read and understand..............

    I guess that they missed this part.................

    "Rep. Cantor, he, his family and his security were concerned the bullet found in his campaign office was related to a number of violent emails and phone messages, many of them anti-Semitic and some of them threatening gun violence," his spokesman, John Murray said."

    March 26, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Bill in WA

    Makes me want to play that Beatles song. What was it again? Oh yea. Foll on the Hill!

    March 26, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Eric Cantor needs to apologize to the Jewish Community for bring them into his lies just because he's Jewish. I never heard any heckles screaming out derogatory things about Jews, shame on you Mr. Cantor.

    March 26, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Jeff from TX

    The man blows his cred with incomplete, inaccurate garbage like this.

    March 26, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Frank

    As Gilda Radner used to say, "Nevermind."

    March 26, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Mario in Texas

    Two words come to mind. EPIC Fail.

    If someone was outside the building and shot through the window, the bullet would have been embedded in a wall, desk, etc. Since it was found 1 foot away from the window it came through, logic suggests it didn't come from a horizontal angle, but then again logic is one thing most, if not all Republicans lack. Being that many are avid gun owners, you'd expect them to know bullet trajectories.

    March 26, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Sondra

    did you guys not read the article??? He did not find out it was random until AFTER his press conference!!! This stuff happens on both sides...everyone needs to calm down and stop calling each other names and stating that ALL republicans are crazy religious lunatics!!!! Grow up people...we all don't see eye to eye – that's life! I am not always going to see eye to eye with Dems or Repubs...but just b/c I don't agree doesn't make me anymore crazy than you. FREEDOM is what makes AMERICA a great place to live...but gradually that is being taken away. We ALL need to come together and work things out – seriously is it that hard?????????

    March 26, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. The smallest violin

    I love Republican hypocrisy. Where was your outrage over "bribes" in bills, reconcilliation process, constitutionality of legislation, and demonizing dissent when Congress was controlled by Republicans from 1995-2007 and the Presidency from 2000-2008? How convenient that you summon your anger now that you're party is no longer in power.

    March 26, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Former Republican

    The only way the Republican party is going to stop this nonsense is for them to be punished in the voting booth this November.

    Enough with the Tea Party and the cheezy website graphics. If they want me to come back, they have to start acting like civilized human beings, and not jack booted thugs.

    March 26, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    Just moments ago, Cantor announced that liberal witches turned him into a newt. When questioned as to why he did not look like a newt, Cantor replied, "I got better."

    March 26, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    A Republican back pedaling yet again. I saw his comment yesterday and was offended. He is an elected official who was out there stirring a hornet's nest. He is partly responsible for the incivility. Actually, the Republican Party owns this. They've been stirring it up since Palin's hate rallies. They're tearing our country apart and it has to stop. Just how far are they willing to destroy us in the hopes of regaining power in a government they claim to hate? ENOUGH!

    March 26, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. sonny

    Rep. Cantor made up this story. I knew while watching his press briefing that the whole incident is completely cooked up...Good try but he is not smart enough to do it perfectly..

    March 26, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Eric is blowing everything out of proportion to make it appear that the GOP are being attacked also. I am not buying it and it is simply hard to believe. The Dems were not out in MOBS shouting slurs of racists and sexists condemnations. The Dems were not spitting on people and hanging over the balconies insighting the nasty groups below ,as GOP Congress People were doing last Saturday in OUR Nation's Capitol. The average American is not going to be fooled by Eric or another GOP person. We are ALL aware of where the fault of this Ugliness comes not from any Democratic Group. The Republicans started this last Spring and only they can stop it Tea Party or not. I think that they are in to this divisive behavior to deeply and enjoying what they are doing to this great nation. Shame on you GOP...this Moderate Republican is sending a $500 check out today to the Dems to defeat the Republicans in Nov. I can only hope you folks get the message before is is another disaster at the ballot box.

    March 26, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. D. Bunker

    This is just another variation on an old joke, except it contains more than a kernel of truth this time:

    Q: How can you tell when Cantor is lying?
    A: His lips are moving.

    March 26, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Don , Los Angeles

    Eric Cantor and the rest of the Republican party need to realize they're
    playing with fire when they play footsie with the Tea Partiers. They want
    to fan the flames of opposition to all things Obama for electoral gain, while simultaneously calling the clear and growing pattern of extremism and violence a few isolated incidents. God forbid it does, but
    if and when someone ends up severely injured or dead as the result
    of this pattern of activity that the Republicans are clearly promoting and attempting to benefit from, then the whole thing will blow up in their faces. Remember what your Mamas taught you gentlemen...
    If you play with fire, you'll surely get burned–and prepare to be swamped in November.

    March 26, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    Sue @ 3:51 – we got that. It's an excuse. Do you understand that? See if You Tube has Cantor's caustic remarks yet. He turned the whole thing around and blamed Democrats for the incivility going on right now. It was offensive. Now his "staff" is walking it back some. Please. For those of us paying attention, your post just looks silly.

    March 26, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Hot Dog

    Any one could see that this man was lieing from the beginning.

    March 26, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Cindy

    No, the part we didn't miss was the irony of him chastising Democrats for ratcheting up the rhetoric for political gain, by reporting a random bullet as "me too" evidence. Now he throws in the "anti-semetic" card.

    Steve King said Barney Frank needs to get a thicker skin. So does Eric Cantor. Especially Eric Cantor.

    March 26, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. ken from holland, pa

    Milt, the only reason why this came up was because this idiot had a news conference. let me repeat, it came up because of HIS news conference.

    Sue, i will do my part so you can understand.............
    you are clueless

    on a funnier note, i heard that the tea party idiot down in alabama that tried to inspire people to throw bricks at democrat offices because of their health care vote is actually on disability checks from the government? are you kidding me? i hope there is more to the story. otherwise, i would call him the typical republican. do as i say, not as i do.

    March 26, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. 6.5 Years the shrub worked and 1.5 years the shrub rested, just think, the recession could have been worse!

    What really happened is Bubba in Bacalounger finally scored with his sister and during the event he was firing gun shots in air and through the ceiling of the trailer all while shouting "ride 'em cowboy".

    March 26, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    If the remarks were anti-Semitic, they probably came from Cantor's own party.

    Democrats have always been known for truly being a "big tent" party; just can't say that about the Republicans.

    You'd think that Cantor – and Michael Steele – would have figured that out by now ...

    March 26, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Brenda in Cherry Hill NJ

    Don't be silly; Democrats don't use guns....hey Sue I can read; can you–most republicans can't.

    March 26, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. badger

    Yesterday Erica couldn't wait to get to the microphone and blast the Dems for fanning the flames, so where is he today that he had to have his staff clerify what happened. What a liar and hypocrite this guy is.

    March 26, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Lori in St Pete

    Release the voicemails like the dems did. Otherwise real Americans will go on believing (correctly) that you're just another reichwing POS.

    March 26, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Jim

    As if Cantor didn't know about this being a random shot, not intended for his office, prior to yesterday's political grandstanding!!! He never inquired about a police report! Give me a break! Just another whining, devious, obstructionist republican. This man and his political party have no credibilty or integrity left.

    March 26, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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