Cuellar’s chief of staff Jacob Hochberg released a statement Monday night saying: “As Congressman Cuellar was parking his car this evening, 3 armed assailants approached the Congressman and stole his vehicle. Luckily, he was not harmed and is working with local law enforcement.”
Hochberg said police recovered Cuellar’s vehicle.
The Washington Post reported that the robbery happened in Washington’s Navy Yard area, about a mile from the U.S. Capitol.
Monday’s carjacking was the second assault on a member of Congress in the District of Columbia this year.
In February, Democratic Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota was assaulted in her apartment building, suffering bruises while escaping serious injury. Her chief of staff said the attack did not appear to be politically motivated.
In June, Kendrid Khalil Hamlin pleaded guilty in that case to charges of assaulting a member of Congress and assaulting law enforcement officers. Hamlin was also accused of assaulting two officers as they attempted to arrest him on the day of Craig’s attack.
The out-of-control crime rate in the nation’s capital comes in spite of direct intervention from Congress to rein it in.
In March, the newly elected Republican majority in the House passed a measure to nullify ordinances from the D.C. city council that relaxed penalties for serious crimes—including carjackings specifically.
“Getting murderers off our streets and foreign poison out of our neighborhoods are among the most basic governing responsibilities you can possibly think of,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Democrats largely objected to the intervention and attempted to use it as justification to push for the cause of D.C. statehood, which is expressly prohibited under the U.S. Constitution.
“On the one hand, I really support D.C. statehood, I support D.C. home rule,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. “On the other hand, the mayor vetoed the [D.C. council] bill saying that it would not provide enough safety … so I am torn.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press