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Rep. Connolly's aides injured in office attack have been released from the hospital

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., listens at an event in Fairfax, Va., on Oct. 22, 2020.
Jacquelyn Martin
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., listens at an event in Fairfax, Va., on Oct. 22, 2020.

Updated May 16, 2023 at 3:44 PM ET

Two staff members at Rep. Gerry Connolly's district office in Fairfax, Va., attacked Monday by a person armed with a baseball bat have been released from the hospital, the Virginia Democrat told reporters Tuesday.

"The worst that could have happened didn't," he said, "but I think the hard part sets in now: trauma."

He said the man who struck two aides — one senior staffer and an intern on her first day at the office — wasn't motivated by a political ideology. Capitol Police are conducting a security review. But Connolly says some district offices are in federal buildings with security and others in strip malls without it.

"What's the balance between the accessibility for the public we serve and security for the staff and the public we serve and that's going to be different for every office," he said.

The suspect has been identified as Xuan Kha Tran Pham, 49, of Fairfax, Va.

In a statement Monday after the attack, Capitol Police noted thatUSCP Chief Tom Manger recently testified about the heightened threat climate across the country.

"One of the biggest challenges we face today is dealing with the sheer increase in the number of threats against Members of Congress — approximately 400% over the past 6 years," Manger said. "Over the course of the last year, the world has continuously changed, becoming more violent and uncertain.

Connolly was not in the office at the time of the assault. That has left him feeling some guilt over the attack, he told reporters.

"He came asking for me and they took the hit as substitutes for me," Connolly said.

-- Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Washington desk

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