March 26, 2010
A bullet that hit a window in Republican U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor's office building appears to have been fired randomly into the air, police said Thursday.
Cantor announced at a Capitol Hill news conference Thursday that a shot had been fired into his Richmond campaign office.
In addressing reporters, he denounced threats and vandalism against Democrats who passed sweeping health care reform legislation that has angered conservatives, but accused senior Democrats of inciting retribution against Republicans.
"It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain," Cantor told reporters.
Cantor said he receives threats because he is Jewish and because he is the second-ranking Republican in the House, then disclosed a recent direct threat and the shooting.
"A bullet was shot through the window of my campaign office in Richmond this week, and I've received threatening e-mails," Cantor said. He refused to release details, however, saying it would only encourage more threats, and refused to take questions.
Later Thursday, however, Richmond police said in a news release that the bullet had been fired into the air around 1 a.m. Tuesday. It finished its arc back to earth at a sharp downward trajectory, breaking a window pane on the bottom floor of the two-story brick building where Cantor's campaign leases the top floor.
The spent bullet hit the floor about one foot inside the shattered pane. No one was in the building at the time. A police investigation has yielded no suspects.
The pastel green structure with a purple door resembles a town house, and from the outside it is difficult to distinguish whether it is a business or residence. Except for a brass plate by the door identifying it as The Reagan Building, nothing outdoors links it to Cantor or to the GOP.
It is owned by the political consulting firm whose clients include Cantor and former Gov. and former Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Gilmore.
Richmond has struggled for year with high rates of gun violence in some neighborhoods. While the building housing Cantor's office is one of the city's safer downtown areas, some of the more dangerous neighborhoods lie one-half mile to a mile away.