A man from Lake Ronkonkoma who threatened the life of Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville) has been arrested in connection with the incident, according to Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
Kenneth Gasper, 64, a retired Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) worker, was arrested after surrendering to police on Wednesday in Mineola and charged with aggravated harassment in the second degree. He was arraigned on Thursday and is due back in court Nov. 24. A judge issued him a stay-away order from Garbarino and his staff.
“We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior for any of our residents,” Ryder said at a news conference discussing the incident on Friday. “In the world that we’re living in today, the climate that is out there, these threats we take very seriously. The congressman is very happy that the arrest was made.”
Gasper had called Garbarino’s Massapequa office on Monday and expressed displeasure with the freshman congressman’s vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which passed last week. According to Ryder, Gasper spoke to a staff member using profanity and said, “If I see that mother [expletive] in the street, I’m going to kill him.”
This led to a collaborative investigation by the Nassau PD and Capitol police, Ryder said. After tracking the phone call to Gasper’s number, a background check and search of his home showed he has no gun permits, no criminal history, and does not own firearms.
Garbarino was one of only 13 congressional Republicans to vote in favor of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which was harshly criticized by other Republicans. Ryder said the Nassau PD has increased patrols at Garbarino’s office and asked Suffolk PD to do the same near his residence.
The charges against Gasper could result in up to a one-year sentence.
Garbarino’s office has not responded to the Press‘ requests for comment.