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Police say gunfire that hit Cantor's office was random

Anita Kumar

The bullet that hit U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor's campaign office in downtown Richmond early Tuesday was random, Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley said this morning.

"It is a stray bullet as part of random gunfire,'' Lepley said. Police said they have no suspects.

Cantor's office declined comment.

Cantor announced Thursday at a news conference in Washington that his office had been fired at. Police confirmed that, saying that a bullet struck a window, landing on the floor about a foot from the window. The round struck with enough force to break the window but did not penetrate the blinds. The bullet triggered an alarm and the police were notified immediatedly.

Cantor's office is in a small building several blocks from Capitol Square. It has several small offices in it. There are no Cantor signs on the doors or windows. Various Republican candidates have occupied the offices in the historic Reagan Building through the years, including former governor Jim Gilmore.

At the news conference Thursday, Cantor angrily lashed out at Democratic leaders for their handling of reported threats against members of Congress.

"I've received threats since I assumed elected office, not only because of my position but also because I'm Jewish,'' he said. "I've never blamed anyone in this body for that, period. Any suggestion that a leader in this body would incite threats or acts against other members is akin to saying that I would endanger myself, my wife or my children."

By Anita Kumar  |  March 26, 2010; 10:38 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Eric Cantor  
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Comments

This should be a national story. This smarmy republican is part of the republican house leadership and yesterday he USED this random shooting incident to try and change the news coverage that was favorable to democrats, an age old republican tactic. It is unbelievable that this is not front page national news but its not. Move this story to where all can see it.

Posted by: robertmerry | March 26, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Nice try Cantor in attempting to deflect attention from legitimate threats to Dems in Congress. Keep playing the Jewish card and maybe you can turn that into another fake story.

Posted by: checkered1 | March 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I find Cantor to be the sleaziest and slimiest of the grotesque republicans that currently infest Washington. He looks like a sneering, simpering con man who would sell out his own grandmother for any tiny advantage for himself. And he turns out to be exactly that.

Yuck!

Posted by: MarkFromOhio | March 26, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

You know the implausible story Eric Cantor told yesterday about how his campaign office had been the target of a shooting incident? (His exact words were: "Just recently I have been directly threatened. A bullet was shot through the window of my campaign office in Richmond this week.")

Well, even if it weren't for the fact that Richmond police are saying the bullet was fired randomly, there would be reason to be skeptical of Cantor's claim. It turns out that it is nearly impossible to imagine that anyone ever could have figured out that the building in question housed his campaign office...because the building isn't even in Eric Cantor's congressional district, and it's not his campaign headquarters.

Instead, the building (located here) is actually in Virginia's 3rd congressional district (map here). Cantor represents the 7th.

Probably because the building isn't in Cantor's CD, it doesn't have any actual campaign posters or other markings to indicate that Cantor has an office inside it. Moreover, the building's address is not listed on his campaign website, so even if the bullet hadn't been fired randomly, it's virtually impossible to imagine how somebody could possibly have decided to target this location.

The final question is this: even if the bullet hadn't been fired randomly, even if somehow somebody figured out that Cantor had a campaign office inside this building which is not in Cantor's congressional district and is not listed on Cantor's website, then why in the world would someone who had gone through all those hoops end up firing the bullet into the wrong office? Remember, even though he has an office in the building, his office itself was not struck.

The bottom-line is this: every piece of available evidence undercuts Cantor's claim that his office had been the target of a shooting. Given that he made the claim in the context of a blisteringly partisan attack on Democrats, it shouldn't be hard to conclude that he lied. At the very least, there is essentially no evidence that he's telling the truth -- and reporters (especially the one he lied to) shouldn't be afraid to say so.

(Special thanks to the reader who e-mailed me the tip about Cantor's so-called "campaign office" not being in his congressional district.)

Posted by: jrubin1 | March 26, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

A lame shot backfires.

Posted by: archaeoman | March 26, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Richmond police on Cantor 'shooting': "Stray bullet...random gunfire"
by Jed Lewison
Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 09:16:03 AM PDT
Eric Cantor brazenly lied to the national press corps when he claimed his office had been targeted by a gunman in the wake of the passage of health care reform.
No such thing ever happened.
And now he's been busted. The bullet that hit U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor's campaign office in downtown Richmond early Tuesday was random, Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley said this morning.
"It is a stray bullet as part of random gunfire," Lepley said. Police said they have no suspects. Cantor's office declined comment.This is Cantor's "backwards B" moment. It's Tuzla sniper fire, only worse, because Eric Cantor cried wolf about something that actually matters, all in a pathetic, dishonest attempt to smear Democrats. The strange thing is that Cantor's story was never really plausible, and he had to know it. The so-called "campaign office" didn't have any visible signs linking it to Cantor. It wasn't even in his congressional district. Oh, and the capper? Cantor's office wasn't even actually hit by the random bullet. It was a nearby office in the same building where he sometimes does fundraising work.
It might not seem fair or balanced to call Eric Cantor a shameless liar, but it is truthful and accurate. That's what he is. And other than Fox News, the press corps ought to hold him accountable for lying to their faces."

Posted by: osullivanc1 | March 26, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Mr Cantor, I truly hope you and your family remains safe. I have to tell you I've been following this political season very closely and your party is very much responsible for the present political climate. You are not the "no' party, it just seems that way when juxtaposed with democratic initiatives because of the philosophical differences with regard to the role of government. What also occurs, however,is the rhetoric. Conservative rhetoric criticizing democrats has become very dramatic and relentless as far as honest debate is concerned. This whole Obama is a "socialist, Muslim, and not an American citizen phenomenon is just an example of how Republicans have let supporters write the narrative. No one in your party has said we need to win the debate truthfully on the merits otherwise no one will be able to govern. The scare tactics used to fight health care is simply a sad example of how your party has let the truth slip away to the point where it cannot be stopped. Incredibly, Republicans have been able to get the angry white male voter to forget the policies that led to the whole western world collapsing by diverting attention to Obama. Conveniently, as the black guy always on television he becomes the scapegoat. Those that perpetrate the racism here don't even know they,re doing it. The criticism of Obama is starkly different from any of his last several predecessors. Obama's criticism is all manufactured.There's no Whitewater, no Haliburton, no Iran-Contra, just straight talk. He has no hidden agendas or personal investments to guide his policies in yet why this cloud of distrust over him. The fact is he is getting a classic black man reception. The kind that plays to all the stereotypes . Obama has a hidden agenda, he's a muslim, he's slick not articulate, he hates America, he wants to redistribute wealth, he wants to give minorities handouts. All of this manufactured by spin and a known preconception whites have of blacks and it becomes easy to make him ineffective. There is no Iran-Contra, no Whitewater,no Monica, no Haliburton, just straight talk. He has had more press conferences then the last two Presidents combined? You don't hear him speak ill of those that disagree with him. He answers every question asked of him in press conferences in yet look how easy it is to discredit him. The same way a white jury could maintain that Rodney King was not brutalized on that tape, there are simply some whites out there who will see only what they want.They will insist that there's a government takeover. I mean c'mon we have a black President. That phrase, "the Man", was not talking about Barack Obama. Like Clinton, he's a people's President.

Posted by: Reginald1 | March 26, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Cantor is beyond epic fail.

One, this just goes to prove how responsible all those "law abiding" citizen ar ein VA who are now allowed to carry weapons into bars. The NRA would be so proud.

Second, he doesn't disclose it, a fact he tried to then benefit from, but then we learn he didn't disclose it because he knew it wasn't done as a threat, but because some moonshining moron was shooting his guns in the air.

Well done Cantor, you've not only made yourself look like a complete idiot, but your state as well.

Hey, feel free to criticize the Richmond police who made this report, if you dare :)

Posted by: Nosh1 | March 26, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

What is the percentage of Cantor's office building's wall that is covered by windows?

What is the percentage, taking into account “random chance”, of a bullet being fired so that its trajectory takes it through a window on that wall?

Multiplying those two percentages together; depending on the solution’s value, is it likely that the bullet was launched randomly,or is it more likly that it was aimed with a particular and calculated purpose of flying though that specific window?

Let’s ask some mathematicians and engineers to examine these situations and generate most probable scenarios.

Launching a bullet, brick, or other projectile against, through, or towards a person, a persons property, or a person’s workplace sounds to be some sort of assault.

This was just a thought I had while remembering my science and math teachers’ lectures. Please let me know what views you have on the matter.

Posted by: IQ4U | March 26, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"I've received threats since I assumed elected office, not only because of my position but also because I'm Jewish,''

Funny. I just realized that an anagram of "Eric Cantor" is "Erratic Con".

Coincidence? I think not.

Posted by: beachykeen02 | March 26, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"The police acted stupidly." Failure to take this seriously puts our politicians in danger.

Posted by: munsey1 | March 26, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

So what kind of place is Richmond that people are just randomly shooting around?

Posted by: Yankeesfan1 | March 26, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Having your office building hit by random gunfire is a scary thing. Everyone here is talking as if the gunfire were okay, since it was just random, after all. Do we really want to live in a country in which random gunfire is just a normal old, ho-hum event? I urge Congressman Cantor to devote his time and powerful office to getting us stronger gun control laws.

Posted by: ericmiller1957 | March 26, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

A typical Republican Weapon of Mass Distraction. Republicans have been totally over the top with their hate-filled anti-Obama rhetoric since the election. Now when the craziest of the crazies start acting on the hyped up fear, they try to claim, "hey, we're getting shot at too!"

Bull! Their behavior, as outline in the recently leaked powerpoint presentation, is despicable. Americans need to show their displeasure at the polls. I fear the tyranny of the incited mob way more then I fear an imaginary government tyranny.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 26, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Cantor needs to go to a shooting range and practice before trying this again. What a wimp.

Posted by: wilder5121 | March 26, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Call Cantor's DC Office 202.225-2815 to ask when he's going to make a public statement to retract the idea that he was being targeted.

Posted by: gene11 | March 26, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Once again the radical fringe spews its hate.
And no, I'm not referring to Mr. Cantor.

Posted by: brattykathyi1 | March 26, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Brattykathyi1,

I'm pretty sure the Republicans invented, copyrighted, and taught the Democrats how to do hate. Do a little research on Lee Atwater before you go around using the Orwellian tactics of accusing the other side of EXACTLY what you do.

But facts aren't important to propagandists.

Posted by: gene11 | March 26, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

What a surprise, the sleazy scumbag Cantor was lying!
Of course, he figures Faux News and even the mainstream media will not really correct the story at the same level they reported it, and so most of the people who saw it will still believe it. But the smarmy conman knows what he is doing: As Monkeyboy Bush would say, "mission accomplished".
When will the Post actually do minimal investigation of a story before they publish it? (I mean, how hard is it really to check with the cops?) When will they stop blindly publishing obvious lies, as they have done throughout the health-care debate and in the run-up to the war on Iraq? When will the Post's "fair and balanced" be the equivalent of (1) on the one hand "mathematicians say 2+2=4" but (2) on the other hand "some fundamentalists doubt it". (God forbid you offend a potential subscriber.)

Posted by: jos587 | March 26, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

What a surprise, the sleazy scumbag Cantor was lying!
Of course, he figures Faux News and even the mainstream media will not really correct the story at the same level they reported it, and so most of the people who saw it will still believe it. But the smarmy conman knows what he is doing: As Monkeyboy Bush would say, "mission accomplished".
When will the Post actually do minimal investigation of a story before they publish it? (I mean, how hard is it really to check with the cops?) When will they stop blindly publishing obvious lies, as they have done throughout the health-care debate and in the run-up to the war on Iraq? When will the Post's "fair and balanced" be the equivalent of (1) on the one hand "mathematicians say 2+2=4" but (2) on the other hand "some fundamentalists doubt it". (God forbid you offend a potential subscriber.)

Posted by: jos587 | March 26, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Note to Cantor: Thanks to the love that Republicans have for guns in the hands of everyone, wingnuts and solid citizens alike, random gunfire does happen. The random tossing of bricks through windows is much less common...

Posted by: tahphoto | March 26, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Note to Cantor: Thanks to the Republican love for guns in the hands of everyone, wingnuts and solid citizens alike, random gunfire does happen. The random flinging of bricks through windows is much less common... (For some reason, this didn't post when I first submitted it. Hope this won't turn into a repeat...)

Posted by: tahphoto | March 26, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I've been waiting and carefully watching for over thirty years to hear a single Republican tell one single truth about anything...anything at all.

We all know they're incompetent, have failed at everything they've ever touched, and have exactly ZERO accomplishments over the past hundred years.

But you'd thing there'd be at least ONE Republican in all these years who'd get tired of lying EVERY time he/she speaks.

Guess not.

Posted by: wilder5121 | March 26, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

This guy is such a joke.
He's worse than a t-bag, he's a d-bag.
Where does the GOP find these people?

Posted by: osullivanc1 | March 26, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Once again a RepubliKKKan is exposed for using gutter tactics. How droll, how expected, how RepubliKKKan.
Imagine the mentality that behaves this way, and that supports this garbage.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | March 26, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

A Democrat imagines that someone said the N word (and despite tons of camera phones there is no evidence it actually happened). What an outrage! A Republican gets a bullet hole in his office and it's no big deal? Do you see the hypocrisy and double standard? Do you actually think Cantor knew who and why shot his office before the police did? Of course not. Why is it impossible for people to see anything without being blinded by ideological bias?

Posted by: sam38 | March 26, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

What's amusing is he isn't even sure which day the window was shot. Could have been one day or the next before it was discovered.

But Cantor will have you believe his life was equally as threatened as any of the Democratic leaders.

He and his other cronies have become soooo irrelevant to the solutions this country is searching for. They are an embarassing joke to the Republican party that I used to respect 20 years ago.

Posted by: patrick10 | March 26, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"It is a stray bullet as part of random gunfire,'' Lepley said. Police said they have no suspects.

Ok if no suspects are being held umh how would anyone know what random is?

Posted by: dukeameye2 | March 26, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

A Democrat imagines that someone said the N word (and despite tons of camera phones there is no evidence it actually happened). What an outrage! A Republican gets a bullet hole in his office and it's no big deal? Do you see the hypocrisy and double standard? Do you actually think Cantor knew who and why shot his office before the police did? Of course not. Why is it impossible for people to see anything without being blinded by ideological bias?
-----------
The reason people don't think the "office shooting" at Cantor's office is "no big deal" is because no one was specifically targeted. In fact, his office wasn't even hit, the window that was broken was in the same building, on the first floor. Cantor leases out the second floor. Fox News actually had a good article on it.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/26/bullet-struck-cantors-office-appears-randomly-fired/

It details the trajectory of the bullet, the window it eventually went through as well as who actually rents the building and the lack of anything tying the building to Cantor. So it is very easy to suggest that Cantor is using this for political gain. He suggested that he is in the same boat as dems, getting threats, but "you don't see me running to the news media" mentality...of course, he did run to the news media and he didn't even have his facts straight. Kind of like someone claiming they were raped to get the attention from someone who actually was raped.

Posted by: cgallaway2000 | March 26, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

No Way!

This was deliberate, targeted assasination attempt against one of the great leaders of our country.

It could have been al Qiada.
It could have been SEIU.
It could have been ACORN.
It could have been Bill Ayres.
It could have been HuffPo.
It could have been The Weather Underground.

All I can say -- and pray -- is that THANK GOD THIS COMPLETELY RANDOM BULLET FROM THE SKY DIDN'T GET ERIC! HE COULD HAVE BROKEN A NAIL OR SOMETHING.

Posted by: SwellLevel5 | March 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Loooooooo....oooooooooooo..oooooooo...ser

Posted by: Mighty7 | March 26, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

WOW just think if he had the Israel mental state, he could have called in f15s to hit a democrats office in the defence of Israel.
PS anyone heard if limbaugh has left the united states yet.

OR WAS THE CHIEF REPUBLICAN TELLING A LIE!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dv1236 | March 26, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse


03.26.10 -- 6:28PM // RECOMMEND RECOMMEND (2)
That's Some Defense

"Eric Cantor's latest defense: I didn't know that the police had concluded the bullet in my (sometimes) office was randomly fired until after my press conference in which I said my office had been targeted.

You know it's bad when your fallback defense is reckless disregard for the truth."

Posted by: osullivanc1 | March 26, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican and NRA apologist, Cantor ought to know that stray bullets are the price we pay for unbridled interpretation of the second amendment. 

Posted by: Rdobrick | March 26, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

the last time I heard from this swimmy head he was running a "listening" tour after the election in a pizza parlor in Suburban Virginia... till Rush Limbo made fun of him. Probably have a deal this time not to make fun of him.

Posted by: Geopolitics101 | March 27, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Cantor has a long history of playing fast and loose with the truth so you would think that he would be better at it, but everything about him yesterday except his mouth said "I'm lying. Obviously, history is another of his weaknesses or he would know that the KKK and neo-nazis who embrace the teabaggers have a long history of anti-semitism. Virgina is well on its way to regressing into South Carolona embracing discrimination, filing legally futile law suits, businesses fleeing and after four years of a Pat Robertson clone will find itself with record deficits, all reserves depleted, crime on the rise, increased unemployment (if the federal government would move offices out of VA)and funding to education slashed.

Posted by: xclntcat | March 27, 2010 4:16 AM | Report abuse

What a piece of work Eric Cantor and the rest of the GOP are. They lie and no one ever called them on it! They know they can get by with it, because the Dems are not as evil as they are! This is totally okay for them to try to lay all the blame on the Democrats for even talking about their legitimate threats!

Posted by: kebred | March 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

If the MSM were only half as diligent in running down all the unsubstantiated accusations that the Dimwitcrats have hurled at Republicans this week...

Posted by: thebump | March 28, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

C&L.com
Greg Sargent gets Eric Cantor's defense (or at least, Cantor's attempt at a defense):

Basically, Cantor's office is defending itself by saying that they had no idea what the facts were. The problem is, in his statement to the national press corp, Cantor was emphatic in his certainty that he had been the target of a shooting incident:

Obviously, the claim that a gunman (presumably pro-reform) has targeted your campaign office is incendiary. It's the type of claim that you need to be sure about before you make it. If you don't know the facts, it's incredibly irresponsible to make such a claim. And when you're making it in the context of a political attack on your opponents, it represents dishonesty in the extreme.

On those grounds alone, Cantor's statement was an extraordinary breech of the public trust. But the facts of the matter reveal that what he did was even worse.

First, Cantor was fully aware that the gunshot may have been random. Although he did not say this to the national media, he told a local newspaper that he wasn't sure if the gunfire was random or not. (CNN reported this, to its credit.) So Cantor knew that his statement might have been untrue -- and yet he made it anyway.

Moreover, Cantor was also fully aware that the bullet didn't actually hit his campaign office. It hit an office in the same building as one of his campaign offices.

Finally, there's virtually no way somebody would ever have targeted that particular office if they were going after Cantor. For starters, neither his campaign site nor his official site list the building as his campaign office. The building itself does not have any markings to suggest that it housed his campaign office. And if all that weren't enough, the office isn't even located in his congressional district.

When Eric Cantor made his statement, he was fully aware of each of these facts -- but he proceeded forth, because he thought it made good political sense, truth be damned. He's receiving heavy criticism for that decision today -- as well he should.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 28, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

If a bullet ended up in a DEMOCRAT'S office, you know it wouldn't be declared "random". I've always said that liberals are violent and they tend to get away with their crimes because of cover from the liberal news media. For example, Cindy Sheehan camped outside Bush's home and practically stalked him. If someone did that to Obama, then they would be labeled a teabagger and neocon and racist ... even if they had no political affiliation whatsoever. I despise liberal news journalists. They are nauseatingly dishonest.

Posted by: penniless_taxpayer | March 28, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, I thought Mr. Cantor's claim was more opportunitisic than true at the time. It is unfortunate that he felt he need to use a random shooting to promote an agenda. Heck, that's why he didn't want to take any questions when he announced to the national media that his office was shot at. He knew then that by the time the truth came out, the media would have moved on. Political games are out-of-control nowadays.

Posted by: kfern07 | March 29, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

sam38, funny thing is -- I watched a video of it.

Posted by: MekhongKurt1 | March 30, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

I can't fault the guy for having had death threats followed by a bullet through his office window. He's not a forensics specialist, and I sure wouldn't know if a bullet came through MY window whether or not it was random.

I'm amused by the Democrats who politicized THEIR experience with vandalism. Either they NEVER experience such things, or they're the only ones who do.

And I'll buy that for a dollar.

Posted by: billanti | April 2, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

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