A Tucson man was arrested on suspicion of threatening to murder Arizona Rep. Martha McSally because she supports President Donald Trump.
Tucson School District employee Steve Martan, 58, was arrested on charges of trying to assault and kill McSally in three messages left on her congressional office voicemail on May 2 and 10, The Arizona Daily Star is reporting.
The expletive-laced voicemails contains several threats to McSally, a Republican, including that she should “be careful” when she gets back to Tucson and that her days “were numbered.” In one of the messages, he threatened to shoot her.
When he was arrested by the FBI, he told agents he was merely “venting frustrations” with McSally’s congressional votes in favor of President Trump’s policies.
He was charged with threatening to assault and murder a United States official with intent to impeded the official’s duties, and to retaliate against an official for the performance of their duties, the complaint reads.
Phone records released showed Martan used his own phone to make the threats, and it was found at his residence.
Authorities released him on his own recognizance, but told him to restrict his movement to work, home, or court-mandated activities. He was hooked up with an electronic monitoring device and was prohibited from contacting any of his victims or owning a firearm.
McSally’s district was once held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and seriously wounded in an assassination attempt at a grocery store parking lot in January 2011. Six people were killed and 13 were wounded in the attack.
McSally’s office released a statement.
“Our community should be deeply disturbed by these threats of violence,” District Director C.J. Karamargin said in a statement. “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.”
Caramargin used to be Giffords’ communications director.
“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. The vicious threats made against Congresswoman McSally are a sobering reminder of just how important that discussion continues to be,” Karamargin said. “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. These threats against Congresswoman McSally should be a wake-up call for us all.”
A local station managed to get hold of Martan, who denied making the calls.