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. Patrick

    Uh huh!

    March 26, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. jeff jackson, alabama

    Wait a minute, isn't this guy for taking guns
    away from law abiding citizens. Sounds like
    his home town could use more licensed
    firearm carriers.

    March 26, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Len (Colorado)

    Another falsehood!!! Who really is trying to ignite the Fire!!!!!

    Prediction: The silent majority will vote some Republicans out of office in November of 2010.

    March 26, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom

    @ Sue........ My dear lady, Cantor came out yesterday and said that someone had fire a bullet through his campaign office. The CONSERVATIVES immediately blamed some nutcase Liberal!

    Liberals are not likely to "get their guns" and shot anyone or anything! Liberals are not clinging to their guns, believe me!

    That's usually a Conservatives reaction.

    March 26, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Hal

    Wow!! the GOPers who subtly encourage their taliban tea bag cohorts to commit acts of violence are worried that some bleeding heart lib. will attack them. GOP cowardice, falsehoods and hypocrisy know no bounds!

    March 26, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Debby

    I am sure Cantor gets his fill of hate mail because he is Jewish. AT least he doesn't whine about it like the blacks do constantly day in and out.

    March 26, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. CF

    Lying Republicans and their dirty Republican tricks!

    March 26, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. John

    ...the Richmond Police Department determined Cantor was not targeted and "random gunfire" was responsible for the incident.

    Well, perhaps it was the result of an accident from a gaggle of tea party wingnuts playfully excercising their second amendment rights somewhere else in town.

    March 26, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. tplatz1

    These guys are on the WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY!!

    March 26, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Wisconsonite - Republicans don't know HOW to tell the truth!

    Oh CANTor . . . Please shut up.

    March 26, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Giselle

    It is time for the Repubs to stop this hatred and violence. Many of them are living on medicare or medicaid, so what is their problem. Please people it is time for Sarah Palin to really really go back home she is spewing all this hatred. Oh and you Repubs, christianity is about caring, sharing and loving, How can you people say you love Jesus and you've never seen His face, yet you see your brothers and sisiters dying and you turn and walk away. Go read 1st Corinthians 13

    March 26, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Ruth

    He acted like a true republican' He lied.

    March 26, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Wisconsonite - Republicans don't know HOW to tell the truth!

    Yeah. Beause so many Democrats are anti-Semitic. Right.

    March 26, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Vince

    I have no doubt the shooter was Dick Cheney just letting off a little steam in the downtown wilderness of Richmond. Don't worry Eric it wasn't personal...

    March 26, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Tori in Texas

    Move along, people.... nothing to see here.... just another Republican caught in another lie... just keep moving along, folks....

    March 26, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. D.

    Note that Stupak was first threatened by liberals. It worked and he switched side.
    Then, the conservative saw it works and continued, but the democrats on the left (whose supported started all this) cry wolfs!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Michael

    This is typical repuglican hypocrisy at its best! This two headed monster has been spuing incendiary hateful rhetoric since the presidential election campaign! Repuglicans political tactics of con artist, liars, extortionist, and thugs is finally backfiring on them! The media has let them off the hook for months, by letting them defer or side step offences, even when it was obvious they to blame! They are like a bad lawyer who uses cunning and deception get the truly guilty or bad person off the hook! Americans are tired of their brand of politics, and because we are not acting like Tea partiers, does not mean repuglicans has november election in the bag! THE TRUTH IS THE REPUGLICANS WILL LOSE MORE SEATS THIS FALL IN THE SENATE AND HOUSE REGARDLESS HOW CNN, FOX OR ABC TRY TO INFLUENCE VOTERS!

    March 26, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. YJ

    What a liar!!!!!

    March 26, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. efmra1

    Sure he wants to move on...before somebody finds out he fired the bullet himself! Loser......

    March 26, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Sgt. USMC

    Liar Liar

    If you honestly didn't know you weren't being targeted, than you should have waited until the police investigated the incedent, then, only then should you have opened your BIG FAT LYING MOUTH.

    March 26, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. BK

    ha! we all knew it was a lie...a smoke screen to make it seem like tea baggers will go after the GOP too. what a con job these people are. the GOP are nothing but a bunch of losers

    March 26, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Jim from Seattle

    I instantly concluded that it was way too convenient when Cantor claimed that violent acts were directed at Republicans as well as Democrats. He's trying to deflect the insanely unnacceptable behavior by the most vocal contigency of his party, the tea partiers, making it sound as if the disgruntled members of the Dem party behave just the same.

    Well he is wrong, and I have no doubt that he knew beforehand that the convenient bullet was not meant for him. He has been a total jerk throughout this debate. Not discussing the facts, but instead ratchetting up the rhetoric.. incitig the very dispicable behavoir by his supporters – the tea partiers. He embodies what's wrong with his party.. no to science, no to facts... yes to oil, yes to corrupt military deals...

    March 26, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. B Lewis

    I have an uneasy feeling for Cantor. It appears he would sell his mother's soul to further his political career. Has anyone else noticed this for a long time now?

    March 26, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. geecee

    Cantor, you and your sick party of NO, i.e. Boehner, Demented, McConnell, Kyl, Cornyn, Wilson, etc. need to stop your hate against our President and the Democrats and drop your destructive scheme of disagreeing with everything and anything the Dems. propose. It is making you look worse every day. Don't you get it, you fools?? They won!!

    March 26, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. David

    Just heard on the news that 5 Republicans in Kentucky have been convicted of voter fraud. No surprise, huh.

    March 26, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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