In three separate voice messages in May, a Tuscon school district employee threatened to shoot Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) because he was angry with her votes in support of President Trump, according to the FBI.
Authorities tracked the caller’s phone number to Steve Martan, 58, who was later arrested for allegedly threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official, interfering with McSally’s duties and retaliating against her, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson.
On May 2 and May 10, Martan is accused of calling McSally’s congressional office and leaving threatening, expletive-filled voice-mail messages.
“Yeah this is for Martha McSally,” Martan allegedly said in the first recording, before saying he wanted to wring the congresswoman’s neck. “You need to get back where you came from and leave Arizona,” he added.
According to the complaint, Martan told McSally in the second message that he couldn’t wait to “pull the trigger” when she returned to Tucson and shoot her between the eyes. “Be careful when you come back to Tucson cause we hate you here, okay,” it said. In the third message, Martan allegedly told McSally her “days are numbered.”
Federal officials located Martan at his home with the cell phone used to call McSally’s office. There, Martan told authorities he called the congresswoman’s office because “he was venting frustrations with congressional votes in support of the President of the United States,” according to the complaint.
In a sharp rebuke Monday, McSally’s office responded to the threats with a statement from District Director C.J. Karamargin.
“Our community should be deeply disturbed by these threats of violence,” Karamargin said in the 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.”
Since 2015, McSally has represented Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in 2011. Six people were killed and 13 others wounded. Giffords later resigned.
Karamargin has been with McSally since 2015, but was serving as Giffords’s communications director the day the congresswoman was shot.
“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 in her statement. “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.”
Martan was released on his own recognizance but cannot leave his home except for work and to participate in his court-ordered mental health treatment program, reported the Arizona Daily Star. He must wear an electronic monitor and cannot contact McSally or possess a gun.
He works as a campus monitor at Miles Explanatory Learning Center in the Tucson Unified School District, reported the Daily Star, and was told not to come to campus while the district investigates the allegations against him.
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