Gunman arrested for threatening to kill Judge Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man carrying a gun, knife and zip ties was arrested Wednesday near Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland after threatening to kill the judge.

Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, Calif., has been charged with the attempted murder of a Supreme Court justice. During a court hearing, he consented to remain in federal custody for the time being.

Roske was dressed in black when he arrived in a taxi just after 1 a.m. outside Kavanaugh’s home in a Washington suburb. According to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in federal court in Maryland. Roske said he bought the gun to kill Kavanaugh and would also kill himself, according to the affidavit.

Roske told police he was upset about a draft notice disclosed suggesting that the Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion case. He also said he was upset by school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, and believed Kavanaugh would vote to relax gun control laws, according to the affidavit.

The court is currently weigh a challenge to New York demands to get a license to carry a gun in public, a deal that could make it easier to be armed on the streets of New York and other major cities.

When he got out of the taxi, Roske was spotted by two U.S. marshals who are part of the 24-hour security provided to the judges following the draft notice leaked last month. But Roske was only apprehended after he called 911 in Montgomery County, Maryland, and said he had suicidal thoughts and planned to kill Kavanaugh, after finding the judge’s address online. Roske was still on the phone when Montgomery County police arrived on the scene, according to the affidavit.

During his first appearance in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, Roske paused several times before responding to routine inquiries from U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan during the 10-minute hearing.

When asked if he understood what was going on and if he was thinking clearly, Roske paused, then said, “I think I have a reasonable understanding, but I wouldn’t say I think clearly.”

Roske said he was taking medication, but did not say what it was or why he was taking it. He also said he graduated from college.

Andrew Szekely, a federal public defender who represents Roske, declined to comment on the case after the hearing. Roske’s next court date has been tentatively set for June 22. The attempted murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Earlier Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters, “This kind of behavior is obviously behavior that we will not tolerate. Threats of violence and actual violence against judges of course strike at the heart of our democracy and we will do all we can to prevent them and hold those who commit them accountable.

President Joe Biden praised authorities for quickly apprehending the man, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in an email.

There were protests at the home of Kavanaugh and other judges, as well as protests in court, where a security fence surrounds the building and nearby streets have been closed.

A Department of Homeland Security report said the draft advisory, leaked in early May, sparked a wave of threats against officials and others and increased the likelihood of extremist violence.

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Kunzelman reported from Greenbelt, Maryland.

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