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. David Hanegraaf

    No surprise. Another GOP lie. They are pathelogical liars. Death panels, WMD's, ban on sports fishing.

    March 26, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Laurie

    Cantor can't tell the truth!

    March 26, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. please

    Sue – you are the definition of an idiot.

    March 26, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. vic, nashville tn

    As usual republicans always mislead us

    March 26, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Lori in St Pete

    If there are emails, I want to see them. His government email is public record, so it's time to do a public records request.

    March 26, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. mindbodythoughts

    Nothing like stretching the truth there a little and jumping to conclusions before you know what is going on. I'm glad he just didn't bash the democrats and accuse them of inflicting this bullet on his office. Oh wait, he did! Typical politician!

    March 26, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Ken in NC

    OK S the bullet was from random gunfire. I wonder if the hateful phone message he got was possibly to man or woman angry coz they caught their partner with another or maybe to a wrong number. LOL

    Now we will never know that because he will not release the tape of that call if it exist.

    March 26, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. ic

    Trying to over sell a Political Story ehh Mr. Cantor. Liar Liar Pants on Fire

    March 26, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Marty, FL

    Where exactly is the apology from Cantor for his own "fanning the flames" lie? Or how about some decency for a change to accept his Democratic colleagues' invitation to make publicly bipartisan statements together against violence?

    Waiting, Mr. Cantor...

    March 26, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. El Kababa

    Milt wrote: "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..."

    Dissent is not a bullet. Dissent is not a brick. Dissent is not posting someone's address on your web site and encouraging God-knows-who to break their windows. Those are brown-shirt Gestapo tactics, not the tools of the citizens of the world's oldest democracy.

    March 26, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Minnesotan

    Cantor is a true politician... able to spin any which direction the political winds blow. The fact he jumped all over this as soon as he did was political... and I don't believe for a second he's received as many threats as he has. Its easy to just say things... as Cantor and most politicians all know. But actually sitting back and figuring things out before knee jerk reacting to something like this... like Obama woud have done... wait til all info is in before determining what happened... would have been more helpful. But no, it was an opportunity to redirect what was ACTUALLY happening to the Dems who were ACTUALLY being threatened and attacked by Tea Party extremists.

    March 26, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. MikeH

    More likely Cantor or one of his stooge staffers used a slingshot to propel a slug at a window so that they could then shriek like little girls about vicious liberals shooting at them.

    March 26, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Lead, Follow or Get Out of The Way

    I'm sure he does want to move on .... HE WAS BUSTED IN A LIE!

    There is no way that a bullet entering in a "downward direction" fired at 1 AM when NOBOBY was even in the room was a threat to him.


    March 26, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Independant

    Sue, this is not about being a Libbie but about what Cantor said. Cantor clearly stated that he was also a victim of violence because someone shot a bullet into his office. That’s not what happened. A stray bullet landed in his office. Now because he like other public figures receives threating emails (believe it or not he’s the only one) the authorities are looking into the incident. Which is fine but that is not what he said or implied. At the very least he was misrepresenting the facts. By the way I am a conservative, registered Independent.

    March 26, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. shucks

    Sorry Mr. Cantor, but it would be one of your own anti-semite hate groups or even the KKK, who are associated with the republican party that would be shooting at you, not a democrat. You are very confused, and need to apologize for adding to the vitriole being spouted by your fellow republicans every minute.

    March 26, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Terry from West Texas

    Sue is a gal who does not like us Liberals. She wrote: "... 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."

    Here is what bothers me about Conservative women. Conservatives opposed giving women the vote. Conservatives opposed giving women equal pay for equal work. Conservatives opposed laws to limit child labor. (Kids used to work in factories and coal mines.) Conservatives opposed family leave, maternity leave, and cheap day care. Conservatives opposed allowing women to wear pants in public. Conservatives opposed laws against sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Imagine your lives, Conservative women, if Conservatism had won all of those battles. When your boss gave you a pat on the behind and told you to "leave all the thinking to the men and get me some coffee" you would just have to smile and say "Yes Sir." That is the world you want to live in?

    March 26, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Right. He's getting threats. Uh huh. Show them to us or they didn't happen. He faked the bullet. Nobody could purposefully fire a bullet in the air that comes almost straight down and aim the parabola just right to hit his window. They'd have to stand around for hours littering the ground with casing trying to hit the window just once. It's just like that obvoiusly faked black guy voice CNN kept playing all last night, claiming it was a threat against some GOP congressperson. Sounded like someone pretending to speak ebonics. Laughable.

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

    Hmmm...It would be nice if the media were as diligent in reporting the results of police investigations of currently unsubstaniated claims of threats and "violence" against democratic congressmen. If the past were to repeat itself (as is usually the case), as soon as it is discovered that the threats and violence did not come from those "crazy", "dangerous" Tea Partiers or GOP supporters, the media drops the story... Funny how the media is OK with propagating rumors which demonize a particular group, but unwilling to report the truth when it comes out. I'll leave it up to CNN to be the beacon of truth and report on ALL the outcomes of these cases of threats and violence.

    March 26, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. lolo

    If the repugs would get over losing and act like adults we would not be in this mess. I am glad that Mr. cantor and his family are safe, but they need to stop using hateful and deceitful tactics. They have now made themselves look like idiots. Also those of you that are saying that the democrats anfd Liberals are causing all of this, please rethink what you are saying. All that everyone sees is the republicans bad behavior. This party just uses people to get what they want. Any person who has seen what has been goin on in the republican party are very disgusted and will never join your party. From listening to the threating voice-mails some of their followers are very misinformed by their republican leaders, but the kicker is that they still want to be associated with the republican party or tea baggers (both are the same to me). The republican party has really shown their true colors now. Look at how Bush wiped his hand on Clinton's shirt after he shook that Haitian persons hand. Just disgusting. Also you Republicans seem to think that you are the only true Americans who work hard for what they have and the rest of us are living off of the government when in fact most of you are dipping in government funds yourself. In other words it is like the pot calling the kettle black. This is why peole are ashamed of your party. You brought this all on yourselves. The nerve of the repulbicans to call themselves Christians. You are using God's name in vain as usual. Remeber the people who helped you build this country. You did not do this on your own, but if you need a history lesson you shall get one.

    March 26, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. gino

    LIuh! Liuh! Pants on fiuh!

    March 26, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. Paul

    " random gunfire " Ha Ha Ha ....

    This shooter must have been a real marksman and a genius.

    Police report says:

    "A preliminary investigation shows 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 windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds. There was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman".

    When a bullet is fired into the air, it would probably go as high as a mile.

    This shooter fired with such a great accuracy that the bullet went up a mile and then hit the window glass in a downward direction.

    What a great Marksman.........

    This man should be in Guinness Book of World Records.

    Ha Ha Ha


    March 26, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. judy

    "As the only Jewish Republican in Congress Rep. Cantor has received threatening messages for years, Murray says, but until now has made a practice of not discussing them in public."

    perhaps you don't discuss them because they came from your Republican friends and thier Christian ways....

    March 26, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. LacrosseMom

    WHAT'S THERE TO ............CLARIFY????? RANDOM FIRE!!!

    I KNEW this whole Cantor story was fishy!

    SO......... the Liberals weren't "arming themselves" against Cantor?????



    March 26, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Michael from Ventura

    What a shock! To try to make the Progressives of the Nation look as bad as the right-wingnuts just won't cut it. The mob is on the far right- the majority of Americans are NOT. Glad he is safe....He needs to help put out some of the fires he helped to start!

    March 26, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    My Jewish Republican friends won't even bring this tripe up after it has been exposed so I doubt Cantor will.

    Just like Repeal and Replace won't be heard from ever again after April.

    Politics is a like bi-polar disorder: Completely unbalanced and unpredictable.

    Polls are about as fore-telling as Tarot Card readers.

    But we bloggers feel like we have a voice if we post on here. I'm sure my blog post will affect many lives and I will go down in history as a man who put his opinion on a website with 10,000 other losers.

    March 26, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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