Activist Who Made Death Threat to Tea Party Leader Committed for a Psychiatric Evaluation
A man who was wounded in last week’s shooting rampage in Tucson was apprehended by authorities Saturday after he allegedly threatened a “tea party” activist at a town hall meeting of victims and eyewitnesses of the attack.
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.
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 commentatorGlenn Beck and Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle. “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target,” Fuller said.
The town hall, organized for an ABC News special, “After the Tragedy: An American Conversation Continued,” was held at St. Odilia Catholic Church, which two of the shooting victims attended.
Jim Kolbe, a former Republican congressman, said Fuller “was clearly more emotional about the town hall than anyone else” at the event. Near the end of the taping, the subject turned to gun control. Humphries, who has opposed gun-control laws, was being interviewed on the matter when Fuller interrupted. Deputies escorted him from the scene.
According to Kolbe, the incident “demonstrates the weariness that people have right now.”
Times staff writer Molly Hennessy-Fiske contributed to this report.