Suspect in baseball bat attack on congressional staff also faces hate crime charge

The suspect Pham's father says his son has suffered from schizophrenia since his late teens.
Xuan-Kha Tran Pham

The man accused of attacking two staffers for Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly with a metal baseball bat is also being charged with a hate crime after he allegedly asked a woman if she was white and then damaged her car and chased her around less than an hour before the incident at the district office.

Xuan-Kha Tran Pham, 49, was arraigned virtually Tuesday from the Fairfax County jail. The judge read four counts against Pham as he huddled under a blanket in his jail cell, according to The Associated Press. The judge ruled that Pham will be held without bond pending a preliminary hearing set for July.

Pham faces charges of aggravated wounding and malicious aggravated wounding in relation to the attack on two of Connolly's district staffers in a Fairfax office as well as a misdemeanor hate crime count and a felony property destruction charge in relation to the incident earlier in the day Monday.

Officials say Pham approached a woman in a parked car Monday morning and asked if she was white before smashing her windshield with a bat. Video from a home camera system in the neighborhood shows a bat-wielding man chasing a screaming woman.

Pham's father, Hy Pham, told multiple news outlets that his son has suffered from schizophrenia since his late teens and he had been trying unsuccessfully to arrange mental health care for Pham.

Connolly was not in the office during the incident, but an intern on her first day on the job was hit in the side and an outreach director was struck on the head, the congressman said. Both staffers were released after hospital treatment.

Connolly told CNN he didn't "think there's a motivation" behind the incident but, "I think we are talking about real mental illness."

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.