An employee of the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona is under arrest in connection with threats made to Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) earlier this month.
According to Tucson.com, the arrest stems from two threatening voicemails left with McSally's congressional office on May 2 and May 10:
The voicemails contained threats to McSally, including that she should “be careful” when she returns to Tucson and that her days “were numbered.” He threatened to shoot her in one of the expletive-filled messages.
The suspect named in the criminal complaint is Steve Martan, a 58-year-old campus monitor at Miles Exploratory Learning Center in Tucson. Martan told FBI agents he was simply venting his frustration when he called McSally's office. Said frustration was over McSally's recent votes in support of President Donald Trump in Congress.
The criminal complaint against Martan paints a darker picture:
Martan was accused of threatening to assault and murder a United States official with intent to impede the official's duties and to retaliate against an official for the performance of the official's duties, according to the complaint.
Notably, Rep. McSally occupies the Congressional seat once held by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot multiple times in a January 2011 attempt on her life that left five others dead. A statement from McSally's office by District Director C.J. Karamargin harshly condemned the threats of violence against McSally.
Our community should be deeply disturbed by these threats of violence. Threatening to shoot a member of Congress between the eyes and stating that her days are numbered is sickening. It is especially sickening here in southeastern Arizona because we know, perhaps better than any congressional district in the country, what happens when threats of violence become acts of violence.
“The January 2011 shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was followed by a national discussion about the importance of civility and respectfulness in our public debates,” Karamargin explained. "The vicious threats made against Congresswoman McSally are a sobering reminder of just how important that discussion continues to be.
“We can disagree about issues and policies. We should have robust debates about the future of our country. But threats of violence cross a clear line.”
Giffords also released a statement on Tuesday echoing the sentiment expressed by McSally's office:
No matter where you live or what job you have, you have a right to feel safe in your community, at your workplace, and in your home. The threats of violence made against Congresswoman McSally are reprehensible and deeply disturbing. Civil discourse and civic engagement are hallmarks of our democracy, but threats and intimidation should never be tolerated. It's up to all of us – especially those with the power to strengthen the laws that protect us – to work together and prevent violence from prevailing. I commend the FBI and local Tucson authorities for responding swiftly to these threats and for keeping our community safe.
Martan was released on his own recognizance but will be required to wear a monitoring device and attend court-ordered mental health treatment. Additionally, Martan is restricted from possessing a firearm and from contacting Rep. McSally.