US Congressman back at work after armed carjacking in Washington DC

Henry Cuellar was about a mile from the US Capitol when the incident happened (AP/Eric Gay, File)
Henry Cuellar was about a mile from the US Capitol when the incident happened (AP/Eric Gay, File)

US representative Henry Cuellar is back at work after being carjacked on Monday night by three armed attackers less than a mile from the Capitol in Washington DC.

Mr Cuellar, from Texas, said he was “good” and even joked about the frightening experience. He said the robbers “came out of nowhere, and they pointed guns at me”.

“I looked at one with a gun, another with a gun, and I felt one behind me,” he said. “They said they wanted my car, and I said, ‘Sure’. You got to keep calm under those situations, and they took off.”

His chief of staff Jacob Hochberg released a statement on Monday night saying: “As Congressman Cuellar was parking his car this evening, three armed assailants approached the Congressman and stole his vehicle. Luckily, he was not harmed and is working with local law enforcement.”

It was the second assault on a member of Congress in the District of Columbia this year. In February, Democrat Angie Craig was assaulted in her apartment building, suffering bruises but escaping serious injury. Her chief of staff said the attack did not appear to have been politically motivated.

Mr Cuellar thanked the US Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department for their work, saying the “message is very simple: you’ve got to support law enforcement”.

He said the attackers were masked but he could see they were young.

“They recovered the car, they recovered everything, but what really got me upset is they took my sushi,” he joked.

Mr Cuellar spoke to reporters after attending a meeting with fellow Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Colleague Brad Schneider said Mr Cuellar was acknowledged by colleagues during that meeting, saying “we’re all grateful that he is safe”.

“It could have been so much worse,” Mr Schneider said. “We just pray for him.”

US Capitol Police issued a statement saying officers were working to find the carjackers and were being assisted by the Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI. The statement said Mr Cuellar’s car, a white Toyota crossover, was found abandoned and crime scene technicians were processing the scene.

“We have a number of leads,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said. “Our investigators are focused, determined and working around the clock.”