Federal authorities arrested an upstate New York man accused of leaving menacing voicemails on the office phones of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, and another congressman.
Carlos Bayon, 63, used the phone in his Grand Island, New York, home to leave the threatening messages in English and Spanish, federal authorities told The Buffalo News. He was arrested Wednesday on counts of making threats across state lines.
Federal officials did not identify the congressmen by name Bayon called — instead indicating only their home state — but a spokeswoman for Scalise confirmed the Jefferson Parish Republican was the recipient of one of the calls.
"Hey listen, this message is for you and the people that sent you there. You are taking ours, we are taking yours. Anytime, anywhere. We know where they are. We are not going to feed them sandwiches, we are going to feed them lead," Bayon said in a June 30 message left at Scalise's office, according to WKBW-TV in Buffalo.
"Make no mistake, you will pay," Bayon added. "Ojo por ojo, diente por diente (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth)."
Gary Loeffert, special agent in charge of the FBI in Buffalo, told the local newspaper that agents seized evidence from Bayon's home suggesting the threats may have been credible.
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Scalise was shot in June 2017 by a gunman targeting Republican lawmakers. The shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Illinois, opened fire at an early morning congressional GOP baseball practice and carried a list of conservative politicians with him, though Scalise's name was not on it.
Three others were wounded in the shooting as well. Police officers returned fire and killed Hodgdkinson.
"Scalise is grateful to law enforcement for their actions. He will never forget how their heroism saved his life and those of his colleagues last year," said Lauren Fine, a spokeswoman for Scalise, in reaction to Wednesday's arrest. "As he has said before, there is absolutely no place in our political discourse for violent threats."