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Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar carjacked at gunpoint a mile from the U.S. Capitol

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar
Veronica Cardenas
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar

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Congressman Henry Cuellar was carjacked at gunpoint Monday evening in Washington D.C. The Laredo Democrat was unharmed in the incident, according to his chief of staff, Jacob Hochberg.

“As Congressman Cuellar was parking his car this evening, three armed assailants approached the Congressman and stole his vehicle. Luckily, he was not harmed and is working with local law enforcement,” Hochberg said in a statement to TPR.

Cuellar's phone and iPad were also stolen, he explained. “Thank you to Metro PD and Capitol Police for their swift action and for recovering the congressman’s vehicle,” he added.

Cuellar, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, is serving a 10th term representing an expansive district from San Antonio to Laredo to the Rio Grande Valley.

The carjacking took place outside of Cuellar's district apartment in Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood about a mile away from the U.S. Capitol. Many other members of live there as well when Congress is in session.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Cuellar joked about the incident and said he was all right.

“I do have a black belt, but I recognize when you got three guns — I looked at one with a gun and another with a gun — I think one behind me ... so they said they wanted my car, I said, 'Sure.' You got to keep calm under those situations,” he said.

All of his items were recovered through GPS tracking.

“They recovered the car, they recovered everything. What really got me upset was they took my sushi … And they did recover the sushi after all,” Cuellar said.

When asked if he felt he was targeted as an elected official or if the assailants knew who he was, Cuellar said no.

"They had masks, but you could still see they were young," he added.

It was the second attack on a member of Congress in Washington D.C. this year.

Democratic Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota was assaulted in her apartment building in February. Craig’s chief of staff said the attack did not appear to be politically motivated. She suffered bruises but was not seriously injured.

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules