Minnesota Dem reports attack at her D.C. apartment building
Minnesota Rep. Angela Craig fended off an assailant in her apartment building on Thursday, according to a statement from her office that outlined a rare act of violence on a sitting member of Congress.
The third-term Democrat’s office said in its statement that the incident occurred in an elevator early Thursday morning. It is unclear whether Craig knew the attacker, but her office wrote in the statement: “There is no evidence that the incident was politically motivated.”
Craig had initially spotted the suspect in the lobby of her apartment “acting erratic” — “as if he was under the influence of an unknown substance,” according to a report from D.C. police.
She greeted the suspect and as she entered her elevator, the suspect entered along with her and started doing pushups before punching Craig in the chin and then grabbing her neck, the report said. She threw her hot coffee at the suspect to get away, the report continued, and escaped.
Officers searched the basement parking area of the apartment, which is in the H Street NE neighborhood less than a mile from the Capitol. Police announced the arrest of 26-year-old Kendrick Hamlin on suspicion of the assault later Thursday.
It quickly raised alarms among Craig’s colleagues, many of whom have remained on edge about the uptick in political violence in recent years. Other than members of House leadership and those who receive targeted threats, most lawmakers do not receive personal security.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said in a statement later Thursday: “We are very grateful that she is safe and recovering, but appalled that this terrifying assault took place.”
Jeffries said he’d asked the House Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police to work with Craig and her family to keep them safe both in Washington, D.C., and Minnesota.
The attack could revive calls to beef up spending on personal security for lawmakers — a concern that has flared after the attack on Paul Pelosi, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband, last October, and, more broadly, the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Lawmakers have, generally, reported an uptick in public harassment in recent years.
Led by the sergeant at arms office, House officials increased security funding last year, creating a residential program that funds at-home cameras, motion sensors and locks for lawmakers at a cost of up to $10,000.
The Capitol Police, in a statement, said the assailant was “believed to be homeless.”
“At this time, there is no information that the Congresswoman was targeted because of her position, however the case is still under investigation by both the MPD and the USCP,” the department said.
The Hill's police force said last fall that it needed more resources to provide “physical security” for members of Congress at their residences after the Pelosi attack highlighted shortcomings. The department also opened field offices in Florida and California in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to investigate threats to lawmakers.
Lawmakers have become increasingly concerned about their safety in recent years, with the Capitol Police citing 7,501 investigations into threats in 2022, including direct threats and “concerning statements.”