Ryan got death threat in Janesville in 2009

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Ted Sullivan
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
— Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., received an oral death threat while walking in Janesville in May 2009.

The incident came to light Tuesday after the Virginia-based newspaper and website Politico reported it in a story about a surge in death threats against lawmakers nationwide.

Ryan, who lives in Janesville and represents Wisconsin's 1st District, was threatened May 1, 2009, at the Mercy Mall in the 1000 block of North Washington Street in Janesville.

A 44-year-old Janesville man was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct. The Rock County District Attorney's Office later dismissed the charge.

According to Janesville Police Department reports:

Ryan and his field representative, David Craig, were walking when the driver of a black Sport utility vehicle rolled down his window and said, "You've got a bull's-eye on your head. You're gonna die, mother f-er."

The driver then left the parking lot. Craig recorded the vehicle's license plate number. The number led police to the Janesville man.

The suspect said he and his daughter had been at Mercy Mall when he saw Ryan. He decided to voice his concerns about the war in Iraq.

The man told police he asked Ryan to end the war. He said he told Ryan he had blood on his hands. He said he regretted his comments.

The man admitted to calling Ryan a name, but he denied saying anything about a bull's eye or threatening his life. He said he had no intention of hurting Ryan.

The man told police he has been having trouble in his life. He said he is on disability for arthritis and can't support his family. Searches turned up no weapons in the man's home or vehicle.

Ryan told police he often gets threatened. He said this threat was more specific and direct. A woman from Ryan's office later asked police to warn the man and release him.

Last updated: 1:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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