WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have arrested and charged a man with threatening to kill the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, Eric Cantor, and his family, according to court documents filed on Monday.
Norman Leboon, 38, was accused of making the threat in a video on YouTube in which he said, “You receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads,” according to an FBI affidavit accompanying the charge.
A bullet was fired through a window at Cantor’s Richmond, Virginia, campaign office last week, but police said it had been shot into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, suggesting it was a stray bullet.
Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress have been trading accusations that each side was encouraging threats that have been made against lawmakers in the wake of the new healthcare law that Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed last week.
Authorities tracked Leboon to an address in Philadelphia where there was a state warrant pending in connection with other threats, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent with the two-count complaint.
Leboon was arrested on Saturday and during an interview with the FBI, he said he had made the video with his cell phone and submitted it to YouTube, the FBI affidavit said. Leboon said he had made more than 2,000 videos with threats, it said.
Describing himself as the “son of the god of Enoch,” Leboon called Cantor as “pure evil” and that the lawmaker’s family was “suffering because of his father’s wrath,” the affidavit said.
The Virginia lawmaker, who serves as chief Republican vote counter in the House of Representatives, was told of the threat over the weekend and subsequently of the arrest, his spokesman, Brad Dayspring, said in a statement.
If convicted, Leboon could face up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky and Andy Sullivan, editing by Cynthia Osterman