James Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old Democratic activist, was arrested after shouting “You’re dead!” at Tucson Tea Party spokesman Trent Humphries, said Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jason Ogan. Fuller was shot in the knee and back Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire, killing six and injuring 13, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Fuller, a disabled veteran and former campaign volunteer for Giffords, was charged with making threats, intimidation and disorderly conduct and was involuntarily committed for a psychiatric evaluation, Ogan said.
The LA Times reported that, In an interview with Democracy Now on Thursday, Fuller linked the shooting to conservative leaders associated with the tea party, including Sarah Palin, Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle. “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target,” Fuller said.
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During a town hall meeting today, that will air tomorrow on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” a survivor of last Saturday’s massacre in Tucson was arrested for making death threats against a Tea Party spokesman.
Eric Fuller, a disabled veteran who was shot in the knee and who has been making the media rounds — is charged with making threats, intimidation, and disorderly conduct.
During the ABC event, Fuller took a picture of the Tucson Tea Party spokesperson Trent Humphries with his cell phone and said, “You’re Dead.” Deputies immediately escorted Fuller from the room.
ABCNews.com’s story on the event, which you can read here, describes the incident this way:
It is unclear whether Humphries heard Fuller and the two never engaged. According to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Fuller used a cell phone to take a picture of Humphries and allegedly said, “You’re dead.”
Fifteen seconds after the conclusion of the town hall, law enforcement officials approached Fuller and led him to a side entrance. A moment later, Fuller could heard yelling, “What’s the matter–with you–whores!” Fuller was charged with disorderly conduct and threatening and intimidation and taken to a local mental health facility, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: State Representative Terri Proud, a Republican, was sitting two rows behind Mr. Fuller. The topic of gun control had come up in the forum, she said, and a comment was made by one of the speakers about a bill introduced recently in Arizona that would allow faculty members on college campuses with concealed weapons permits to carry guns.
Ms. Proud said she spoke up to clarify the bill’s language. At that point, Trent Humphries, the founder of the Tucson Tea Party, who was sitting one row behind her, rose to speak and suggested that discussion about gun legislation be postponed until after the funerals. He started to say that he, too, had been affected by the tragedy, explaining that a neighbor had been a victim.
At that point, Ms. Proud said, Mr. Fuller blurted out to Mr. Humphries, “You’re dead.”
Mr. Fuller then began to “behave in a very odd manner,” she said. “He was making inappropriate comments.”
After the forum wrapped up, Ms. Proud said she went to one of the police officers providing security at the event and asked him if he would file a report about the comment to Mr. Humphries. The officer told her they were already investigating it.
About five police officers surrounded Mr. Fuller and escorted him from the event. As he was leaving, Ms. Proud said, he turned and yelled, “You’re all whores.”
Mr. Fuller got into a confrontation shortly before the Jan. 8 attack, which occurred at a meeting between Ms. Gifford and her constituents in front of a Safeway supermarket. Mr. Fuller said in an interview this week that he argued with a man he described as a former Marine after a heated discussion over politics. Gabriel Zimmerman, an aide to Ms. Giffords, separated the two. Mr. Zimmerman was killed in the attack.
Mr. Fuller spoke dismissively of Republicans during the interview. “They appeal to simple-minded rednecks,” he said
Speaking of Jared L. Loughner, who is accused of being the gunman, he said: “Saying anything about him would be a waste of breath. Recognizing his existence is a waste. I don’t like his face.”
Mr. Fuller said he had trouble sleeping on the night of the shooting and had calmed himself by writing down the Declaration of Independence, which he memorized three decades earlier.
In the days after the shooting, his anger at the right seemed especially strong. In an interview, he repeatedly denounced the “Tea Party crime syndicate” and place some of the blame for the shooting on Sarah Palin and other Republican leaders who he said contributed to a toxic atmosphere.
Mr. Fuller used to drive a limousine, but in recent years, he said, he got by working various odd jobs, including collecting signatures for political campaigns.
He said he went to see Ms. Giffords to “protect her from the Tea Party crime syndicate.” He said he had planned “to shout them down, because I can make a lot of noise.”
Mr. Fuller said that he still has flashes of anger.