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Armed Suspect Arrested Near Justice Kavanaugh Home Identified

Suspect Nicholas John Roske was carrying a gun and knife, and admitted to intending to kill Kavanaugh, authorities say.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh stands before a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House on Oct. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh stands before a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House on Oct. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The armed California man arrested near the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh Wednesday morning has been identified as Nicholas John Roske, law enforcement sources tell Fox News. 

Roske of Simi Valley, California, was carrying a gun, knife and pepper spray when arrested and had made violent threats against Kavanaugh, sources said. Roske was picked up on a nearby street after calling police on 911 to report himself. 

A criminal complaint obtained by Fox News shows that Roske is being charged with attempting to murder a United States Supreme Court Justice. He is scheduled to have a first appearance in federal court in Maryland Wednesday afternoon.

He told officers that he wanted “to give his life purpose” and purchased the gun and other items for the purpose of breaking into Kavanaugh’s home and killing the justice and then himself. Roske admitted in a second interview with the FBI of his intent to kill Kavanaugh and himself, according to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint. 

Roske told detectives that “he was upset about the leak of a recent Supreme Court draft decision regarding the right to an abortion as well as the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas,” and believed Kavanaugh “would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws,” according to the affidavit. 

At approximately 1:05 a.m. Wednesday, two U.S. Marshals saw an individual, later identified as Roske, dressed in black clothing and carrying a backpack and a suitcase, get out of a taxicab that had stopped in front of Kavanaugh’s Montgomery County home. The individual looked at the two marshals standing outside their parked vehicle and turned to walk down the street, the affidavit says.

Shortly after, the Montgomery County Emergency Communication Center fielded a call from Roske, who identified himself and told the call taker he “was having suicidal thoughts and had a firearm in his suitcase.” Roske also told the call taker “he came from California to kill a specific United States Supreme Court Justice,” the affidavit says. 

Montgomery County Police Department officers were dispatched to the location near Kavanaugh’s residence, where they encountered Roske still on the phone with the emergency operator. He was taken into custody without incident and a backpack and suitcase in his possession were seized. 

A black tactical chest rig and tactical knife, Glock 17 pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crowbar, pistol light, duct tape, hiking boots with padding on the outside of the soles, and other items were found in his suitcase and backpack. 

U.S. Marshals and the Montgomery County Police Department are handling the investigation.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the incident at a press conference previously planned to provide an update on the federal investigation into the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting. 

“This kind of behavior, it’s obviously behavior that we will not tolerate,” Garland said. “Threats of violence and actual violence against the justices of course strike at the heart of our democracy. We will do everything we can to prevent them and hold people who do them accountable.”

Garland said that he accelerated the protection of all the justices residences 24/7 and met with the marshal of the court last month. He said he also convened a meeting with the marshal, as well as with the deputy FBI director, the U.S. Marshal Service and with the Justice Department’s own law enforcement prosecutors “to ensure every data protection available.” 

“Just yesterday, I met with Judge Salas and Judge Sullivan, the Judicial Security Committee of the Judicial Conference, and assured them of our complete support for their efforts with respect to judicial security.” 

“At approximately 1:50 a.m. today, a man was arrested near Justice Kavanaugh’s residence,” Patricia McCabe, spokeswoman for the Supreme Court, said in a statement to Fox News. “The man was armed and made threats against Justice Kavanaugh. He was transported to Montgomery County Police 2nd District.”

The arrest came hours before the Supreme Court revealed Wednesday that it has not ruled in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, prolonging the wait for its opinion which is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a new bulletin Tuesday warning of a “heightened threat environment” over the next several months as they monitor both risks of domestic terrorism and foreign adversaries looking to sow U.S. societal division and inspire violence. 

While citing other recent major events, including mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, the DHS update reiterated from its previous bulletin that individuals both for and against abortion online have advocated for violence against government, religious and reproductive health care personnel and facilities in response to the high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case. 

Part of the concern from the justices and others is the heated rhetoric from elected officials, over the Supreme Court’s rulings, which some say can exacerbate tensions among the general public.

In March 2020, when the high court heard oral arguments in a case over Louisiana’s abortion clinic access restrictions, there was a rally outside the court from abortion rights supporters. Among the speakers, then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. 

Schumer said, “I want to tell you, [Justice] Gorsuch, I want to tell you, [Justice] Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price, You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

The remarks prompted a rare statement from Chief Justice Roberts, rebuking Schumer: “Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

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