Two arrested after alleged threat made at GOP senator's office

Two arrested after alleged threat made at GOP senator's office
© Greg Nash

Two protesters were arrested Thursday morning outside Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeHow fast population growth made Arizona a swing state Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Republican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden MORE's (R-Ariz.) office in downtown Tucson, including one who allegedly made a threat toward a staffer, police said.

Pima County Sheriff's deputies charged both men with criminal trespass following a healthcare-related protest at Flake's office.

Police said that one of the protesters allegedly referenced last month's shooting during a GOP congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others injured.

Flake was on the field at the practice but was not injured during the shooting. He briefed reporters following the incident.


"Staffers working at the office indicated one of the protestors had made comments referencing the shooting of Rep. Scalise which prompted them to call the Sheriff’s Department as well as lock the office doors prohibiting access to the office from the protestors," the Pima County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Thursday to The Hill.

Flake's communications director Jason Samuels said the man who made the alleged comments was arrested after he threatened a staff member at the office, Tucson News Now reported.

"You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim," the man allegedly said, according to Flake's spokesman.

"That last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim."

Police identified the protester as 59-year-old Mark Prichard. After telling him that he was not allowed back on the property, police said Prichard "made a point" of defying the deputies' orders, leading to his arrest. He was also charged with making "threats and intimidation" based on statements made by Flake's staff after his arrest.

Also arrested Thursday at Flake's office was 70-year-old Patrick Diehl, who police say tried to force himself past a staffer into Flake's office before it was open to the public.

According to police, Diehl tried to force his way through the door while a staffer was handing out promotional materials. He was arrested for criminal trespass, and was transported along with Prichard to the Pima County Adult Detention Complex.

Police say no force was used in the arrests, and the protests remained largely peaceful throughout the day.

On Wednesday, Scalise was readmitted to the intensive care unit after three weeks of hospital care due to concerns of an infection.

"Congressman Steve Scalise has been readmitted to the Intensive Care Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center due to new concerns for infection," a statement from Scalise's office said Wednesday night. "His condition is listed as serious. We will provide another update tomorrow, July 6." 

Updated: 5:22 p.m.