Man accused of making threat during protest at Sen. Flake's Tucson office

Published: Jul. 6, 2017 at 2:45 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 6, 2017 at 3:27 PM MST
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Patrick Diehl. (Source: Pima County Sheriff’s Department)
Patrick Diehl. (Source: Pima County Sheriff’s Department)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A man was arrested after issuing a threat during a protest against the Republican-backed health care bill at Arizona Senator Jeff Flake's office in Tucson, authorities said.

Deputy Cody Gress, spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department, said Mark Prichard and Patrick Diehl were arrested on charges of third-degree criminal trespass Thursday morning, July 6.

Gress said the 59-year-old Prichard is also facing a misdemeanor charge of threats and intimidation.

"Staffers working at the office indicated one of the protesters made comments referencing the shooting of Rep. Scalise, which prompted them to call the Sheriff's Department as well as lock the office doors," the PCSD said in a news release.

Prichard was told he wasn't allowed back on the property and was arrested after he "made a point to step back onto the property," according to Gress.

Jason Samuels, Communications Director for Sen. Flake, said Prichard threatened a staff member and said the following:

"You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem? They are going to get better aim. That last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim."

Also on Thursday, police arrested five people outside of Flake's Phoenix office as protests continued for the second day.

Over the past 48 hours, 12 people have been arrested at the GOP senator's offices in Phoenix and Tucson as activists try pressuring Flake to vote against the proposed healthcare legislation.

Gress said the 70-year-old Diehl tried to force his way into the office and was immediately arrested.

According to Gress, Flake's office is not public property but the remaining protesters were allowed to be on the property and were peaceful.

On Wednesday, June 14, House Majority Whip Scalise and four others were injured when a gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice.

U.S. Capitol Police and other officers returned fire and killed the gunman. The rifle-wielding attacker had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP.

A month before the shooting, a Tucson man was arrested for allegedly threatening Rep. Martha McSally.

According to an interim complaint, Steve Martan made three threatening phone calls to McSally's office.

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