LAKE RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (AP) — A Long Island man has been arrested for making a death threat against a Republican congressional member who voted for the $1 trillion infrastructure package, police said.
Kenneth Gasper, 64, was arrested Wednesday for a telephoned death threat against Rep. Andrew Garbarino, Nassau County police said in a news release.
Police said Gasper made the phone call Monday over a vote by Garbarino that Gasper “did not agree with.”
Gasper called Garbarino’s district office, cursed at the staff member who answered and called Garbarino a RINO, an insult that stands for “Republican in name only,” according to the criminal complaint. Gasper warned that if he saw Garbarino on the street he would kill him, the complaint says.
Gasper, of Lake Ronkonkoma, was arrested on a charge of aggravated second-degree harassment. It wasn’t clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the charge. There was no answer at a phone listing for Gasper.
Garbarino, who was elected in 2020 after longtime congressional member Peter King announced his retirement, was one of 13 Republicans who voted for the infrastructure package Nov. 5.
The 13 defectors have been attacked by fellow Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, over their vote. Republican leaders have been largely silent on the attacks.
Garbarino told the New York Post that “misinformation” spread by his House colleagues, as well as conservative pundits, has put the members’ safety at risk.
“There are members of Congress that are fundraising off of their misinformation and attacking us, and it’s causing us to get death threats on the other side,” he said.
Police planned a news conference about the arrest later Friday.