Pima County Sheriff's deputies arrested two men at a health care-related protest at Sen. Jeff Flake's Tucson office Thursday morning. Police arrested 5 in Phoenix at a similar protest.
Deputies say the men were arrested just before 9 a.m. at 6840 N. Oracle Road for reported threats.
One of the protesters allegedly referenced the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.
Deputies told a 59-year-old Mark Prichard -- who allegedly made the comments -- that he was not allowed back onto the property, then stepped back onto property and was arrested, facing charges of third degree criminal trespass and threats and intimidation, both of which are class 1 misdemeanors.
Later, 70-year-old Patrick Diehl allegedly tried to force his way into the office and was arrested for third degree criminal trespass.
Both men were booked into Pima County Jail.
Deputies were initially not able to establish probably cause of a threat based on Prichard's comments. According to Flake's office, the exchange went like this:
Prichard: You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem?Staffer: No.Him: They are going to get better aim. That last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim.
After review, PCSD added a charge of threat and intimidation to Prichard's booking. Here is a statement from the department:
Upon further review of the evidence and statements made by Mark Prichard to the staff at Sen Flake’s office, he has also been charged with Threats and Intimidation (Class 1 Misdemeanor) on top of the 3rd Degree Criminal Trespass charge.
Flake spokesman Jason Samuels tells KGUN9 that the matter has been forwarded to Capitol Police.