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Plan to kill Kavanaugh ended in desperate plea, says feds


The taxi pulled up outside a white colonial residence in suburban Washington, DC

It was just after 1 a.m. Wednesday, and a man got out of the car wearing a gray t-shirt and black pants, carrying a backpack and a suitcase he had zipped up. .

Inside the luggage was a black tactical vest, pepper spray, duct tape, a knife, hammer, screwdriver, crowbar, other zip ties and a Glock 17 pistol with ammunition.

Nicholas Roske, 26, had just arrived in the nation’s capital from his home state of California with a specific goal in mind, as he later told federal agents and a 911 dispatcher. .

“Do you know anyone around here?” the dispatcher asked, according to a recording of the call released by authorities.

“Brett Kavanaugh,” Roske replied.

“You said ‘Red’, like the color?”

“Brett, the Supreme Court Justice,” Roske clarified.

The plan, he said in the recording, was to not only hurt Kavanaugh, but also to kill himself.

Yet as deliberate as his trip was to travel thousands of miles with a chest of weapons, Roske apparently abandoned his alleged plot just yards from where the Supreme Court justice slept.

He spotted two deputy U.S. marshals posted outside Kavanaugh’s house, turned to walk down the street, and then dialed 911.

He reached a dispatcher and said he needed medical help. The dispatcher urged him to breathe.

“I want to be fully compliant,” Roske told the dispatcher, “so whatever they want me to do, I’ll do.”

Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in 2018.

(Jabin Botsford/Pool Photo)

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Of his own accord, Roske has never lived anywhere other than California, except for a brief stint in Seattle.

Born in 1996 to Colleen, a special education teacher, and Vernon, an insurance representative, he spent much of his early years in the San Fernando Valley.

For a time, Roske was home-schooled, an education that was supplemented by programs at Shepherd’s Community Church, a non-denominational Christian church on Saticoy Street in Canoga Park, according to a classmate there.

At church, Roske was part of the youth group, Awana, where he and other children memorized Bible verses and played games, the former classmate recalled.

In 2009, the Roske family – including Nicholas and his younger sister – had decamped from Encino for a three-bedroom house in Simi Valley with views of the Santa Susana Mountains. He raced across the country at Simi Valley High School, donning the maroon and gold of the Pioneers as he raced against his peers in Calabasas and Chatsworth.

After graduating from high school in 2014, a district official confirmed, he took classes at Moorpark Community College. He spent his last two years of undergraduate studies at Cal State Northridge, according to a university spokeswoman. Roske majored in philosophy and graduated in 2018.

“He was a philosophy student and I studied political science, and we were exchanging ideas,” Kenny Vergini, a former high school and college classmate, told the New York Post. “It was [a] really smart guy. … But he never did or said anything that really stood out.

What followed after college is unclear. An online CV showed just one job – office manager at a pest control company in Simi Valley, a position he left last year.

Roske also did not express any specific political views. When he registered to vote in 2022, he had not affiliated with any political party, according to records reviewed by The Times.

Plan to kill Kavanaugh ended in desperate plea, says feds

A view of Simi Valley near the Los Angeles-Ventura county line.

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

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“You’re doing well here, just talk to me, Nicholas,” the dispatcher said as the minutes ticked by. “It may be quiet on my end, but I’m still here with you, okay?”

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Roske said he was standing near the sidewalk around the corner from Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and as the dispatcher gently questioned him, he explained that he was in distress and had been hospitalized several times.

“I need psychiatric help. But no, I’m not hurt, if that’s what you’re asking,” Roske said, adding, “Not physically.”

The dispatcher urged Roske to keep his hands visible and obey police orders, promising officers would arrive “as soon as possible.”

Roske’s answers were specific: he is 26 years old, 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds. He has light brown hair. He had not consumed alcohol or drugs that day and he said he traveled alone.

“I took a taxi from the airport,” Roske said. “He dropped me off at his address. I’m just around the corner.

When asked where he was from, he replied, “Simi Valley…where is the Ronald Reagan Library.”

“Senior Valley? »

“Simi Valley. SEMI. Yeah. It’s just outside of Los Angeles.

Roske said he found Kavanaugh’s home address online by matching press photos of protests outside the residence with online street directories and mapped images of the property.

“You said you had already thought about it?” the dispatcher asked at one point.

“To correct.”

“Keep breathing, you’re fine,” the dispatcher said before turning to Roske’s family. Roske lived with his parents, who were unaware of his plans; both were vacationing in Hawaii, he said. The family has a dog, Molly, an 18-year-old cockapoo.

Sirens then sounded in the background of the 911 call launched by the authorities.

“Oh, they’re almost there,” Roske said.

“They only come to help you,” the dispatcher said. “If they give you commands or anything, we can always disconnect, but just make sure you always follow their commands.”

As the police seemingly closed in, the dispatcher continued, dragging Roske away from the case at hand and asking him if he preferred Seattle to Los Angeles.

“It’s a different atmosphere,” Roske said, his voice trailing off. “Yes! They’re here – I’ll hang up,” he told the dispatcher.

The end of the 911 call picked up the faint command of an officer responding, “Get up and turn away from us.”

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Montgomery County police said Roske was arrested without incident.

Once at the suburban Maryland police station, he agreed to speak with federal agents and told detectives he was upset by the recent leak of a proposed Supreme Court decision that would strike down women’s right to abortion, as well as a recent school massacre in Uvalde. , Texas.

“Roske has indicated that he believes the judge he intends to kill would side with Second Amendment rulings that would relax gun control laws,” an FBI agent wrote in a statement. affidavit filed in court.

For Roske, killing Kavanaugh — and then himself — was a way to give purpose to his own life, according to the affidavit summary of his interview.

Hours after his arrest, Roske was charged in US District Court in Maryland with attempting to kidnap or murder a judge. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Later Wednesday, FBI agents broke into the Roske family home in Simi Valley, scouring the residence for evidence as TV news crews posted outside and took photos of the agents.

“He’s a good boy,” Roske’s grandfather, Dan Shannon, told KCBS-TV Channel 2. He said the allegations were “extremely” irrelevant.

“We’re in crisis right now, so we don’t know,” Shannon said.

Those close to Roske, including his parents, did not respond to messages seeking comment, nor did the public defender appointed to represent him.

The case summary submitted to the court by an FBI agent makes no mention of Roske’s reported psychiatric distress.

Appearing in a courtroom in Greenbelt, Maryland this week, a magistrate judge was asked if he understood what was going on and if he was thinking clearly.

“I think I have a reasonable understanding,” Roske said, “but I wouldn’t say I think clearly.”




Los Angeles Times

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