The man who was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house in Maryland early Wednesday has been charged with attempted or threatened to kidnap or murder a US judge.
A 26-year-old man from Simi Valley, California, was arrested after called emergency authorities and told them he was having suicidal thoughts and had a gun in his suitcase.
He told law enforcement that he had traveled from California to kill “a specific United States Supreme Court Justice” and according to an FBI affidavit filed Wednesday, Roske was upset about the leak of a Supreme Court opinion related to abortion rights, an upcoming gun control case, and the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“Roske indicated that he believed the Justice that he intended to kill would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws,” the FBI agent wrote. “Roske stated that he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court Justice” after breaking into his home. Roske planned to commit suicide as well, according to the affidavit.
The FBI says that on Wednesday morning, Roske was carrying a suitcase and backpack filled with a tactical knife, a Glock 17 pistol, two magazines, ammunition, pepper spray and zip ties.
Roske possessed a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crowbar and duct tape, the affidavit said.
Roske appears in court for his second arraignment. He agrees to remain in jail until his next hearing on June 22.
Roske’s lawyer asked for a reduced bond for his client. The lawyer told Judge Sullivan that Roske wasn’t “thinking clearly” but understood what was going on. Asked if he was under the influence, Roske told the judge that he had taken some medication that day. He did not specify what medication.
The White House Condemns the Attack in the Strongest Terms
The White House condemned the armed individual arrested outside Kavanaugh’s home. The White House spokesman Andrew Bates told CNN, “The President of the United States condemns the actions of this individual in the strongest terms, and is grateful to law enforcement for quickly taking him into custody.”
“Public officials — including judges — must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety or that of their families. And any violence, threats of violence, or attempts to intimidate justices have no place in our society. The President has said that himself, and his spokespeople are forceful about that from the podium.”
Biden stated that “supporting increased security for court and judges” is a priority.
There have been threats against the court amid the national abortion rights debate and protests that have taken place across the US. The Department of Homeland Security issued a memo last month warning law enforcement that there are potential threats to members of the Supreme Court after a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked.
Supreme Court police have noticed a major uptick in social media threats of violence in general. Some are currently under investigation for threatening violence against the justices and the court building, which is now surrounded by fencing.
Arrests were made before the justices made more rulings during the week in the final weeks of their annual session.
The court did not reply to a question about whether or not Kavanaugh was at the building on Wednesday morning. The building has been closed to the public since March 2020, and justices no longer announce their opinions from the courtroom bench due to security protocol.
Attorney General Merrick Garland made a statement about violence and threats of violence against judges at the Supreme Court Wednesday, saying “threats of violence and actual violence against” the Supreme Court justices “strike at the heart of our democracy.”
“Threats of violence and actual violence against the justices of course strike at the heart of our democracy,” Garland told reporters. “We will do everything we can to prevent them and hold people who do them accountable.”
Governor Larry Hogan says there has been “heightened security” at the homes of justices since last month.
Hogan called on leaders in both political factions to strongly condemn these actions in no uncertain terms. It is vital to our constitutional system that the justices carry out their duties without fear of violence against them and their families, he said.
Hogan said, “We continue to partner with federal and local law enforcement officials to ensure these residential areas are secure.”
We will update this story when we have more information about it.