The man arrested for allegedly threatening Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard left a vulgar tirade on her cell phone voicemail a day before he sent a mass email vowing to decapitate the congresswoman, according to a criminal complaint unsealed today.
Aniruddha Sherbow, 43, appeared in U.S. District Court in San Diego today to face charges of transmission of threats in interstate commerce.
He is accused of making vulgar and threatening phone calls to Gabbard that date back to 2011 when she was a member of the Honolulu City Council. He was arrested in Tijuana, Mexico, Wednesday.
A judge set a detention hearing for Sherbow for Sept. 12 in San Diego to determine how he will be taken to Washington, D.C., to face charges. He remains in custody.
Gabbard said today she is "very relieved and really just grateful for the tremendous work that has been done by multiple law enforcement agencies."
In a court document, a U.S. Capitol Police investigator said Sherbow left a message on the congresswoman’s cellular phone on Aug. 1 threatening to "mash" her face to a "pulp" and kill her.
Gabbard was able to identify Sherbow’s voice because of previous interactions, the affidavit said.
Sherbow’s parents confirmed that the voice on the phone message appeared to be their son and that he had sent a threatening e-mail the next day. They told law enforcement that Sherbow was in Mexico.
On Aug. 2 the FBI and several media outlets, including the Star-Advertiser, received an email from someone named Rudy S, describing how he planned to decapitate Gabbard.
The email ended: "I, Aniruddha Sherbow, with the Divine as my witness, do hereby solemnly vow to find Tulsi Gabbard, wheresoever she may be, and to sever her head from her body.
"Everybody happy now?
"Now I suppose the FBI agents who were waiting for one of my parents to die can go ahead and file the terroristic threatening charges against me."
Gabbard was elected to Congress in 2012 as one of the first two female combat veterans elected to that body. She is the first Hindu and first female of Samoan ancestry to serve in Congress. She is still a captain the Hawaii Army National Guard.
On March 24, 2011, Gabbard was granted a three-year injunction against Sherbow, who allegedly made verbally abusive telephone calls and sent her similar text messages.
He attended a meeting of the Honolulu City Council in February 2011 when Gabbard was a member, showing up in a hearing room where she was.
At that time Gabbard said she did not know Sherbow, but said he had contacted her more than 35 times from Feb. 3 to Feb. 23, 2011.