Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) had his life threatened by Wallace Grove Godwin, a Virginia Beach man, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to court documents, Godwin (age 69), visited Taylor’s office on Thursday and threatened to shoot him and two staffers at a Saturday event. The dispute happened, according to the District Attorney’s office, over a discussion about marijuana policy.
“Scott is having an event this Saturday. I am going to get my shotgun and do something about this. I will just handle this myself,” Godwin allegedly said to one of Taylor’s staff. He then pointed to two staffers in the room and said, “You two are next,” authorities said.
Gowdin will appear in a federal courthouse in Norfolk, Va. on Friday afternoon. The maximum penalty for threatening a member of Congress is 10 years in prison.
This encounter happened in the wake of lawmakers asking for more funding for personal security over the last year because of increased hostility at local events. Last year a shooting took place at a baseball practice in Washington that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) gravely wounded.
According to the Capitol Police officer who arrested Godwin, he holds a legal concealed carry permit and has had previous run-ins with Taylor at his private residence. The officer said that in 2017, Godwin “blocked the Congressman’s vehicle with his own vehicle, and waited for the Congressman to come outside.”
“The Congressman left his residence and told GODWIN to move his vehicle. GODWIN then exited the vehicle to speak to the Congressman about marijuana policy,” according to the official affidavit from the officer.
“The Congressman told GODWIN to leave and GODWIN left the residence without further incident.”
Gowdin was also reported to the Capitol Police in March 2017 after visiting Taylor’s Virginia Beach office and berating his staff.
Federal court records indicate that Godwin last year sued the federal government for “non-enforcement” of marijuana laws.
Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, served in Iraq as a sniper in 2005.