News Local/State

Central Illinois Man Arrested On Charges Of Threatening US Rep. Rodney Davis

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis speaks to Springfield reporters in this file photo from 2017. It was just a few days after he and other Republican congressmen were targeted by a gunman at a baseball practice in Washington, D.C. Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

A man from the Springfield area was charged Thursday with threatening to shoot central Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis.

Prosecutors say Randall E. Tarr, age 64, lives in the town of Rochester, just outside Springfield. They say on Nov. 25, he saw a TV ad about Davis, called a number in the ad, and left a voicemail at Davis’ Decatur office.

Davis mentioned the call at a public forum in Bloomington the night it happened.

“You can see ads running against me now, so much so it caused one individual to call in in a rage today and make a threat against me,” Davis said.

Call Transcript

The FBI included a transcript of Tarr’s Nov. 25 call in a court document filed to support his arrest. The voicemail is threaded with profanity, repeatedly calls Davis “stupid” and criticizes him for “backing the Russians”:

“Man, I just saw you [unintelligible] on the TV," the transcript begins. "You backing the Russians, boy? What’s wrong with you? Are you [unintelligible] so fucking stupid? I was in the military for eight years, and you son of a bitch, are backing the Russians over our own intelligence? What is wrong with you Rodney? Oh my God. I’m not voting for you next time. You fucker. I’m not voting for, boy, you are a stupid son of a bitch. I don’t care if you back Trump. But stupid son of a bitch, you’re gonna go aginst our military and back the Russians? You fucking cocksucker. [Unintelligible], If I [unintelligible], I’m a sharpshooter. I could. I’d like to shoot your fucking head off you stupid motherfucker.”

The call was received in Davis’ Decatur office, which forwarded the message to the U.S. Capitol Police in Washington. The Capitol police in turn called the Rochester Police Department, which visited Tarr that day. FBI agents visited him the following day.

The FBI said Tarr “admitted that he made the call” to both Rochester police and FBI agents. Tarr reportedly denied he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He also denied owning firearms, and the FBI said that was backed up by record checks.

After appearing in court Thursday, Tarr was released to home detention. He’s due back in court next week. The most serious charge he faces — for “threats to assault, murder or kidnap a federal official” — carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Davis was among several Republican members of congress targeted by a gunman from Illinois in 2017, during a baseball practice. Four people were shot: U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana and then the majority whip; a Capitol Police officer; a staffer; and a lobbyist.

Davis was not physically wounded. Officers on Scalise’s security detail shot the gunman, who died at the hospital.

Ryan Denham contributed to this report from public radio station WGLT-FM in Normal.

Follow Brian Mackey on Twitter @BrianMackey.