California Resident Arrested for Attempting to Kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh
A California man who was allegedly armed with a gun, knife, and various tools when he was arrested in the early morning near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house in Maryland has been charged with attempted murder, federal officials said in court papers filed Wednesday.
The man was detained around 1:50 a.m. after making threats against Kavanaugh, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Maryland. The suspect was transported to Montgomery County Police 2nd District in Bethesda, Maryland, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said.
The affidavit identified the man as Nicholas John Roske, a 26-year-old from Simi Valley, California. He is charged with an attempt to murder a Supreme Court justice. If convicted, Roske faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Roske appeared before Magistrate Judge Timothy Sullivan on Wednesday afternoon, where he consented to remain in custody. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 22.
United States Deputy Marshals reported seeing a person dressed in black clothing and carrying a backpack and suitcase get out of a taxi that stopped in front of a current justice’s house at roughly 1:05 a.m., according to the affidavit. The person looked at the two marshals and turned to walk down the street, the FBI wrote in a report.
The Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center then received a call from a person, who identified himself as Roske, saying he was having suicidal thoughts and had a firearm in his suitcase. Roske also said he came from California to kill a “specific United States Supreme Court justice,” according to the filing.
Montgomery County police officers were dispatched to the location, where they found Roske. He was taken into custody without incident, and authorities seized his backpack and suitcase. Police found in his belongings a black tactical chest rig and tactical knife, a Glock 17 pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crow bar, pistol light, duct tape, hiking boots with padding on the outside of the soles, and other items, the affidavit states.
After he was transported to the police department in Bethesda, Roske told a detective he was upset about the recent leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion in a blockbuster abortion case and the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The Supreme Court is also set to issue a decision in the coming days and weeks in a case involving a New York law imposing limits on concealed carry of handguns in public.
“Roske indicated that he believed the Justice that he intended to kill would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws,” according to the affidavit. “Roske stated that he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court Justice after finding the Justice’s Montgomery County address on the Internet. Roske further indicated that he had purchased the Glock pistol and other items for the purpose of breaking into Justice’s residence and killing the Justice as well as himself.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that President Biden condemned the actions targeting Kavanaugh “in strong terms.”
“As the president has consistently made clear, public officials, including judges, must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety or that of their families, and any threats of violence or attempts to intimidate justices have no place in our society,” she said.
Later that day federal agents raided the home of Roske in Simi Valley, California. The FBI broke down the door and raided the family home after recieving a search warrant from the courts.
United States Attorney General Merrick Garland was asked about the threat against the Justice and said “Threats of violence and actual violence against the justices strike at the heart of our democracy,”