Authorities say they believe Jared Lee Loughner, the primary suspect in Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Ariz., targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona but have not identified a motive, characterizing him as mentally unstable. The shooting followed a year in which several members of Congress have been threatened.
Last March saw a spate of threats against members of Congress related to their support of President Obama's health-care reform bill. US Rep. Tom Perriello (D) of Virginia was the target of one that hit especially close to home. The only problem: It wasn't his home.
On March 25, the FBI and local officials confirmed that a severed gas line found at the home of Representative Perriello's brother had been deliberately cut. At the time, there was speculation that the act may have been tied to a local tea party website that listed the home address of Perriello and encouraged tea party supporters to “drop by” and “express their thanks” for his health-care vote. The site gave the address of Perriello's brother by mistake.
No one was hurt in the incident, and Perriello called for calm and justice. "People who are doing these things ... are clearly outside the law," Perriello said. "As my very conservative attorney general said, these people need to be prosecuted, not brought into the campaign room."
Perriello was defeated in November in his first bid for reelection.
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