The Seattle man who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly threatening to kill Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., has been charged with felony stalking after investigators obtained new evidence.
Brett Forsell, 49, was arrested on July 9 but released after prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to support a hate crime charge, but the investigation remained ongoing. In charging Forsell, prosecutors indicated that he was armed with a deadly weapon, and alleged that he stalked Jayapal due to her position as an elected official.
“I am grateful to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for holding this man accountable for his dangerous actions, to the victim’s advocate for her assistance throughout the process, and to the Seattle Police Department, U.S. Capitol Police, and the House Sergeant at Arms for continuing to keep my family, me, and my staff safe,” Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement. “Now, the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts will do their important work to protect all of us.”
Police arrested Forsell outside Jayapal’s home after she called 911 to report that a person she didn’t know was outside using obscene language. Jayapal told the dispatcher that her husband thought someone might have fired a pellet gun.
A neighbor told police that Forsell yelled, “Go back to India, I’m going to kill you,” and had driven past Jayapal’s home three times shouting obscenities.
Police said that when they responded to the scene, they allegedly found Forsell in the street with his hands in the air and a handgun at his waist. According to a probable cause statement, he told police that he had directed profanities at the congresswoman after having driven past the house yelling obscenities multiple times since late June.
Police said they later learned that Forsell emailed Jayapal’s public account in January, stating that he did not like her.
Jayapal addressed the situation in an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show” on July 17.
“I am not okay, and I’m okay,” she said at the time.
“This man wanted to intimidate me, he wanted to threaten me, he wanted to harm me,” she added.
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller and The Associated Press contributed to this report.