COLUMBIA (AP) — An Atlanta woman charged with pointed a loaded gun at a South Carolina congressman over the weekend likely didn’t know the man’s position or target him because he is a public official, authorities said Monday.
“We’re not so sure that she knew he was a congressman,” Spartanburg Public Safety Director A. Tony Fisher said at a news conference. “For some reason, she felt that he was a threat or had been following her and approached the car with her weapon out of her purse.”
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy told police that he had been waiting to pick up his daughter outside a Spartanburg church on Sunday night when a woman approached his window and tapped on the glass. Gowdy said the woman pointed a handgun at him and told him to stop following her, Fisher said.
Gowdy said he tried to explain that he wasn’t following the woman but eventually put his pickup truck in reverse and drove away when she wouldn’t relent. The woman ran after him; Gowdy was unharmed and reported the incident to police.
Fisher said Monday that Gloria Yvonne Brackett, 52, had been jailed on charges of pointing a gun and illegally carrying a pistol. She was expected to have a bond hearing later Monday, and it wasn’t known if she had an attorney.
Brackett had a loaded .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol and a box of 48 bullets when she was arrested Sunday night, Fisher said. The Cowpens native had been visiting relatives in the area for about a week and was waiting to catch a bus back to Atlanta when she walked a block to the church and approached Gowdy, the director said.
Brackett has had several run-ins with Georgia authorities, Fisher said. According to Fulton County jail records, she was arrested in 2007 on a stalking charge and released on $5,000 bail. She has no prior criminal record in South Carolina, according to state police.
Gowdy represents the 4th District in northwestern South Carolina. The Republican was first elected in 2010.
In a statement, Gowdy spokesman Josh Dix said the congressman thanked law enforcement for their help and directed further questions to local authorities.