Carlos Bayon, a 63-year-old resident of Grand Island, was arrested on August 1 after authorities traced a disturbing voicemail message back to the suspect. The threatening message was left on the voicemail of United States Representative Steve Scalise on June 30th. The message clearly threatened bodily harm against the politician. The message warned, “We are going to feed them lead. Make no mistake, you will pay.”
The Puerto Rican native has been charged with the interstate communication of a threat on a member of Congress. Law enforcement officials are taking this threat extremely seriously. Scalise, the Louisiana representative being warned in the message, was shot last year during the highly publicized and politically motivated shooting at the VA Republican baseball game. Four other individuals were wounded by the gunfire that day, and it took Scalise three months to recover enough to return to his role in Congress.
To this day, Scalise still needs to utilize crutches to walk. Threats against representatives in Congress have been increasing at a rapid pace over the last few years. The FBI confirmed that the number of threats against Congressmen received by the agency more than doubled from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, the FBI combed through about 902 threats, but they were forced to deal with almost 2,000 threats the following year.
While the motives behind this threat remain unclear, authorities suspect the threat may have been a response to Scalise’s hard stance against illegal immigration. Bayon’s home was searched, and authorities found “very concerning” evidence that the Bayon’s threats were credible.