WASHINGTON: A man suspected of attacking a congresswoman in the lift of her Washington DC apartment building on Thursday has been arrested, police say.
Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat, fought back by throwing hot coffee at the assailant, a police report says.
Kendrick Hamlin is accused of punching her and grabbing her neck.
The 26-year-old, of no fixed address, has been charged with simple assault. The case is not thought to be politically motivated.
Elected to Congress in 2018, Ms Craig, 50, is a mother-of-four and serves as co-chairwoman of the Congressional Equality Caucus.
She was attacked at around 07:10 local time (12:10 GMT) on Thursday, police say.
Her chief of staff Nick Coe said in a statement that she “defended herself from the attacker and suffered bruising, but is otherwise physically okay”.
She called 911 emergency services and the “assailant fled the scene”.
He said Craig thanked DC Metropolitan Police Department “for their quick response and asks for privacy at this time”.
According to a public incident report from the Metropolitan Police Department, Craig told investigators that there was a person acting erratically and possibly under the influence of drugs in the lobby of her apartment building in the busy H Street area near Capitol Hill.
When she boarded the lift, the person followed her inside and “began to randomly do push-ups” after she bade him good morning, says the report.
The person allegedly punched Craig in the chin and grabbed her neck.
She reportedly defended herself by throwing hot coffee at the attacker.
Police had earlier released a photo of the suspect and asked the public for help identifying him.
House of Representatives Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said the caucus was “horrified” by the attack.
US Senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted: “To give you a sense of how strong Angie is, she went straight to the Hill this morning and attended a meeting… no one messes with Angie.”
Craig serves Minnesota’s second district, an area south of the city of St Paul.
Last year Congress approved funding to beef up security for lawmakers, who receive thousands of threats every year.
Earlier, detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s First District seek the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a suspect in a Simple Assault offense that occurred Thursday, February 9, 2023, in the 300 block of H Street, Northeast.
At approximately 7:10 am, the suspect approached the victim, inside of an elevator, at the listed location, the suspect assaulted the victim. When the victim defended themselves, the suspect fled the scene.
The suspect was captured by a surveillance camera and can be seen in this photo
Anyone who can identify this individual or has any information about this offense should take no action but call police at (202) 727-9099 or text your tips to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE at 50411.
Crime Solvers of Washington, DC currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for a crime committed in the District of Columbia. (Int’l News Desk)