Man accused of killing Representative Pramila Jayapal charged

SEATTLE — A 49-year-old Seattle man arrested earlier this month on suspicion of committing a hate crime against US Rep. Pramila Jayapal and threatening to kill her has been charged with stalking.

King County prosecutors said Brett Forsell was charged Wednesday after police investigators gathered additional evidence.

Forsell was arrested on July 9 after allegedly shouting obscenities and threats outside Jayapal’s Seattle home late at night and was sent to jail. He was released when prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to charge him with hate crimes, although authorities said the investigation was continuing.

Police later referred the stalking case for review, prosecutors said.

In 2016, Jayapal became the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives. The Democrat heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

As part of the stalking charges, prosecutors are finding that Forsell was armed with a deadly weapon and that Jayapal was being pursued in connection with her chosen position.

Seattle police arrested Forsell at 11:25 p.m. on July 9 outside Jayapal’s home in the Arbor Heights neighborhood after calling 911 and reporting that an unidentified person or persons were near her home, using obscene language and gave her name, probable cause documents say. She told a dispatcher her husband thought someone had fired a pellet gun, the statement said.

Officers found Forsell in the street with his hands raised and a pistol holstered at his waist, the probable cause statement said.

Forsell told police he had driven past Jayapal’s home several times since late June and yelled obscenities, and on July 9 drove past, stopped, got out of the car and shouted profanities at Jayapal, according to the probable cause statement.

He left after meeting her husband and returned a short time later knowing they were home and was seen by neighbors and Jayapal’s husband who appeared to be approaching the house while he was yelling at Jayapal, means it in documents. A neighbor told police she heard a man threatening to kill Jayapal and believed the statements were made by the man who was arrested that night.

Police learned the man had emailed Jayapal’s public account in January saying he didn’t like her, documents said.

A temporary extreme risk protection order requiring Forsell to surrender his firearms and concealed pistol driver’s license, citing concerns about escalating behavior toward Jayapal and mounting mental health issues, remains in place.

Prosecutors said a judge approved $500,000 bail. It didn’t look like Forsell was jailed Wednesday night. The Associated Press was unable to locate Forsell for comment, and it was not known if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Jayapal said in a statement that the King County Attorney’s Office’s indictment, which has charged Forsell with stalking, shows the justice system is doing its job.

“I am grateful to the King County Attorney’s Office for holding this man accountable for his dangerous actions, to the victim’s attorney for her support throughout the trial, and to the Seattle Police Department, the US Capitol Police and the House Sergeant at Arms for continuing to protect my family, me and my employees,” Jayapal said. Man accused of killing Representative Pramila Jayapal charged

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