Two men were arrested outside the Tucson, Arizona office of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Thursday for third degree criminal trespassing during a protest. One of the men was also charged with misdemeanor threats and intimidation.
In a statement, Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Cody Gress told TPM that police had been called to Flake’s office with reports of threats.
“Staffers working at the office indicated one of the protesters had made comments referencing the shooting of Rep. Scalise which prompted them to call the Sheriff’s Department as well as lock the office doors prohibiting access to the office from the protestors,” the statement said.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was seriously wounded when a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball practice in June. Sen. Flake was at the practice and described the incident at length to reporters afterward.
In an email to TPM, a spokesperson for Flake described the exchange in which Prichard made the alleged threat.
“You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem?” Prichard allegedly asked.
“No,” a Flake staffer responded.
“They are going to get better aim,” Prichard allegedly said. “That last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim.”
The spokesperson said the matter had been referred to Capitol Police.
According to the PCSD statement, protester Mark Prichard (pictured above left), 59, “made it a point to step back onto the property after being told not to do so and was immediately arrested.”
When a staffer for Flake opened the office’s door to hand information to the protesters, according to the police statement, another protester, Patrick Diehl (pictured above right), 70, “tried to force his way into the office and passed the staffer.” He was also arrested.
“Upon further review of the evidence and statements made by Mark Prichard to the staff at Sen Flake’s office, he has also been charged with Threats and Intimidation (Class 1 Misdemeanor) on top of the 3rd Degree Criminal Trespass charge,” the statement said.
It added: “No force was used in apprehending either of the two men, and no violence occurred from the protest itself.”
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