Man accused of threatening Rep. Jayapal released

SEATTLE — A Seattle man who was arrested outside of Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-Wash.) home on Saturday — initially accused of threatening to kill her — was released from jail Wednesday night after prosecutors didn’t receive enough evidence in time to file charges.

When Seattle officers arrived at Jayapal’s home on July 9, they said the man was standing in the street with his hands in the air and a loaded gun holstered at his hip.

A neighbor reported seeing the suspect drive by the congresswoman’s home three times while yelling profanities.

According to initial police probable cause documents, a neighbor reported “that she heard the suspect yell something to the effect of, ‘Go back to India; I’m going to kill you.’”

However, a new court document just filed Wednesday said:

“These threats were later further investigated by a follow-up detective and determined that (the man) did not state he would kill Pramila, and he denied saying anything about her ethnicity.”

Documents indicate the man did admit to driving past the congresswoman’s house three to seven times over the past couple of weeks “while yelling obscenities towards Pramila and towards her political party.”

The latest court document is an extreme risk protection order obtained by Seattle police, which means that the man was required to give up his firearm and any concealed weapons permits. “The respondent’s behaviors appear to be escalating as he went from driving past Congresswoman Jayapal’s residents to physically appearing in front of her home while armed with a loaded handgun,” the document said.

But while investigators are still looking into the potential hate crime or other charges that could include stalking, the man was released from jail on Wednesday evening.

In King County, charges must be filed within 72 hours of booking a suspect in order to keep them in jail. That time is adjusted to account for instances when a judge is not available, such as weekends.

Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, released a statement on Wednesday night regarding the man’s release.

“The recent incident outside Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Seattle home is disturbing and unacceptable. In a time of increased political violence, security concerns against any elected official should be taken seriously, as we are doing here,” McNerthney said.

“The suspect’s alleged language and actions, coupled with his possession of a concealed weapon, deserve the full attention of the justice system. Presently, the investigation is ongoing, and our office is working with police investigators to make sure we understand the full extent of the suspect’s actions to build the strongest case possible,” he said.

The man told police that he was dealing with mental health issues and that he was suffering a “manic episode,” according to court documents.

The man’s next hearing about the protection order will be on June 26 at 8:30 a.m. At that hearing, a judge will determine if the extreme risk protection order will be formally issued beyond the emergency period. It is temporarily in place until that hearing.

Jayapal’s office shared two statements about the incident:

“We are grateful the extreme risk protection order was obtained,” a spokesperson said on Thursday. “Since this is an ongoing investigation, we have no further comment.”

Earlier, after the man’s initial arrest, her office said the following:

“Congresswoman Jayapal confirms that incidents occurred at her Seattle home on Saturday night when she was present. The Congresswoman and her family are safe and appreciate the many calls and good wishes she is receiving from constituents. She is very grateful for the swift and professional response from the Seattle Police Department, the US Capitol Police, and the FBI investigators who are working together diligently on the investigation, and ensuring that she and her family stay safe. Because this is an ongoing investigation, she will not be commenting further at this time.”