US charges man who attacked congressional staffers with baseball bat

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) -A man accused of attacking two congressional staff members with a baseball bat this week and threatening to kill one of them, has been charged with assault on an employee of the U.S. government, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Xuan-Kha Tran Pham, 49, was taken into custody by Fairfax police following the attack in the offices of Representative Gerry Connolly on Monday. He may also face charges by local prosecutors.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorneys Office in eastern Virginia, which filed the charges, have not said what they believe motivated the attack but said in a written statement that the suspect was demanding to speak to Connolly.

He also shouted "you're going to die" and "I'm going to kill you," prosecutors said.

Connolly, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, said on Twitter that the two staff members had been released from hospital.

"My staff members who suffered injuries in the attack have both been released from the hospital and are on their way to recovery, but their journey toward emotional healing has only just begun," Connolly, 73, said in a written statement posted on Twitter.

Prosecutors say Pham entered Connolly's office in Fairfax carrying the baseball bat, then struck a female in the head and hit an intern in the ribs. He then returned to the first victim, striking her a total of eight times, according to prosecutors.

Reuters could not identify a defense attorney who might offer a statement in Pham's defense.

Pham's father told CNN his son suffered from schizophrenia and had not taken his medication for three months.

"He is in a really bad condition," Hy Xuan Pham said in a telephone interview, CNN reported on Tuesday. "All day and night, he mumbles ... he talks and looks like he talks with someone in his brain, and suddenly, he is shouting angrily."

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by David Gregorio and Christopher Cushing)