McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said he was grateful that he remained calm and that his family wasn’t with him when he was carjacked Monday night in Washington, D.C.
He also said that the Texas border is a lot safer than the nation’s capital.
Cuellar said three young men carjacked him on Monday night after picking up dinner and returning to his apartment from Capitol Hill. He said they were wearing ski masks and pointing guns and demanded his car, he told Border Report on Tuesday via Zoom.
Cuellar said the three assailants jumped out from hiding behind a row of cars that were parallel parked on the crowded street, as he parked his car just yards from the front door of his home in a part of the city known as the Navy Yard, which is about a mile southeast of the U.S. Capitol.
“I looked to the left, somebody had a gun pointed at me. I looked to the right. Another guy had another gun on me. There was a third guy behind me behind the car. And you know, I did a quick situation analysis. You got to keep calm. But when you got at least two, three guns pointed at you. I said, ‘Here are the keys you can take off, try to stay calm,'” he said.
He described them as “young punks with guns” who took off in his “nice car with Texas tags.”
D.C. police located the car intact about two hours later, and his cellphone, iPad, and even the sushi dinner he had been bringing home to his daughter when he was attacked were in there. But he said the dashboard camera on the car was missing.
“They recovered everything. I got a nice text from the mayor that they’re going to try to find the three,” said Cuellar, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee who is serving his 10th term in Congress.
President Joe Biden also called him on Tuesday to check on his well-being, he said.
Cuellar said he’s also grateful for the many colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, who have called and reached out to him.
A black belt in karate, Cuellar says he is trained to assess situations, and he knew he was outnumbered and how badly the situation could’ve turned.
He also is the brother of the sheriff of the South Texas county of Webb, where Laredo is located, and he said his brother has taught him to let the police do the policing, and to maintain calm in the face of danger.
He says living in Washington, D.C., is much more dangerous than living on the Texas border.
“We got an immigration crisis at the border. But when you talk about security, crime statistics … the murder rate and assaults at the border are a lot lower. You can take McAllen, you can take Laredo, you can take El Paso, you compare it to Washington, D.C., and it’s about two, three times more dangerous,” Cuellar said.
In the past year, homicides in D.C., have increased 38%; robberies are up 68%, and motor vehicle thefts, including carjackings, have gone up 106%, according to Washington Metropolitan Police statistics released Tuesday.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.