On Wednesday, 31-year-old Texas resident Paul Murray was arrested outside of the vice presidential residence in Washington, D.C., following an intelligence bulletin about him from Texas police, and authorities discovered significant weaponry in his vehicle, suggesting that he could have been contemplating violence. According to a police report shared in part by CNN, Murray had an “AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, 113 rounds of unregistered ammunition, and five 30 round magazines.” Neither Vice President Kamala Harris nor Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff were at the residence at the time of the arrest — they’ve been staying elsewhere because of ongoing renovations at the premises.
BREAKING OVERNIGHT: New details about the arrest of a man on a weapons charge outside Vice President Kamala Harris' official residence. Police say he came to Washington heavily armed.@jeffpeguescbs has the latest. pic.twitter.com/65XA5eYge5
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 18, 2021
Murray is now facing charges including carrying a dangerous weapon, carrying a rifle or shotgun outside of a business, possession of unregistered ammunition, and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device, as summarized by CNN. The arrest unfolded just after noon local time.
More on this arrest via @nbcwashington https://t.co/odqWoG3FwW (DC police update to report suspect was NOT subject of a US Capitol Police lookout, but a regionwide lookout for law enforcement) https://t.co/uEHknfFAGv
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) March 17, 2021
A report from a Texas ABC affiliate suggests that mental health issues may have factored into the situation. Murray apparently “thought the government was after him,” and according to the same ABC report, his mother got in touch with police after he “made statements that worried her.” Murray, who is a veteran, “complained to police that he wasn’t getting support from Veteran’s Affairs and was not taking prescribed medication,” ABC adds.
The Brazos County Sheriff’s Office in Texas said after his arrest that they had “been in contact with Paul Murray over the past two weeks at the request of family members due to his behavior,” adding that although authorities did not discover any “criminal violations,” the office “continued to monitor the situation because of concerning behavior and statements, as well as, information that Murray may have been in possession of weapons.”
Authorities arrest San Antonio man near residence of Vice President Kamala Harris, report says https://t.co/ZUsYTeH3oS
— mySA (@mySA) March 17, 2021
It’s unclear whether any sort of political inclination played a substantive role in Murray’s trip to D.C. with the heavy weaponry, although it’s certainly difficult to imagine that the nearly constant villainization of federal authorities like Harris from people like Donald Trump and others was somehow helpful in tempering the situation. Even after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an outburst of violence that is connected to multiple deaths, Trump has refused to temper his rhetoric.