SEATTLE — A Yakima County man has been charged with threatening to kill U.S. Sen. Patty Murray over her support for health care reform.
Federal agents arrested Charles Alan Wilson, 64, at his Selah home early Tuesday.
Wilson has been charged with leaving voice mail messages at Murray’s Seattle office saying she had a target on her back and "it only takes one piece of lead."
The messages to Murray were left on voice mail from a blocked telephone number, FBI Special Agent Carolyn W. Woodbury wrote in a probable cause statement. Agents said they traced the calls to Wilson’s home near Yakima.
Murray’s office staff told the FBI it had been receiving harassing messages from the caller for months, but they became more threatening as Congress was voting on the health care legislation.
"There’s a target on your back now," said one message on March 22. "It only takes one piece of lead. Kill the (expletive) senator! ... Now that you’ve passed your health-care bill, let the violence begin."
In other messages over the next several days, the caller said, "I hope somebody puts a (expletive) bullet between your (expletive) eyes," and "I do believe that every one of you (expletive) socialist democratic progressive (expletives) need to be taken out."
And, he said, "I want to (expletive) kill you."
Wilson was scheduled to make an initial appearance at federal court in Yakima on Tuesday on one count of threatening a federal official. It was not immediately clear if he had obtained a lawyer.
Murray’s office commented this afternoon on the arrest.
"After receiving numerous phone calls that included threats of violence from an unidentified individual, our office notified the Capitol Police Department of the nature of those calls. The Capitol Police Department then instructed us to alert our local FBI offices regarding the situation," her office said in a statement.
"As this is an ongoing FBI investigation, Senator Murray or her office will not make any additional comments. Senator Murray will continue to focus on working for the people of Washington state."
The Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser today said the party "strongly condemns" the threats against Murray.
"Threats of violence have no place in our political process. We are pleased that this man has been taken into custody," Esser said.
The Seattle Times contributed to this report.