Armed California man arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland home

Brett Kavanaugh
Brett M. Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 6, 2018.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

A California man armed with a handgun, knife and burglary tools was detained near the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh early Wednesday morning after making threats against Kavanaugh, federal officials said.

The man, identified as Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, is being charged with attempted murder of a federal judge, according to a criminal complaint.

Roske called 911 outside of Kavanaugh’s home and told the dispatcher he was suicidal and wanted to “give his life meaning” by killing the justice, according to the FBI affidavit.

The incident was first reported by the Washington Post.

Roske admitted to police he was upset over a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe vs. Wade, which ensures a person’s right to an abortion, according to the criminal complaint. He was also upset about the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

A gunman killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, about 80 miles west of San Antonio, on May 24, 2022.

June 3, 2022

U.S. deputy marshals watched an individual get out of a taxi near Kavanaugh’s home just after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the affidavit. The person was dressed in black clothing and carrying a backpack and a suitcase. The person looked at the marshals and walked in the opposite direction.

Shortly afterward, the Montgomery County Emergency Communications Center received a call from Roske, who said he was having suicidal thoughts and had a gun in his suitcase.


He told the dispatcher he had traveled from California to Maryland to kill a specific United States Supreme Court justice, the affidavit said. Montgomery County police found Roske near Kavanaugh’s home while he was still on the phone and he was taken into custody without incident, according to court filings.

Police found a black tactical vest, a knife, a Glock 17 pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crowbar, pistol light, duct tape, hiking boots and other items in his backpack and suitcase.

“Roske indicated that he believed the Justice that he intended to kill would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun control laws,” according to the affidavit. “Roske stated that he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court Justice after finding the Justice’s Montgomery County address on the internet.”

He told investigators that he purchased the gun and other items for the purpose of breaking into the justice’s home and killing him and then killing himself, according to the affidavit.

Roske faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for attempted murder of a federal judge, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Maryland. He appeared before a magistrate judge and was assigned a federal public defender, according to court records, and remains in custody.

Roske had been living with his family in a modest home with a view of the Santa Susana Mountains, according to neighbors. On Wednesday afternoon, the frontyard was decorated with a small American flag and a red, white and blue pinwheel, which spun in the breeze.

Zach Quadri, who lives next door, said he exchanged pleasantries with the family on occasion but was unaware that Roske lived with them.

He never saw him, Quadri said, “Not even once.”

FBI spokesperson Joy Jiras with the Baltimore field office said the agency was aware of the investigation and was working with local law enforcement.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan thanked the U.S. Marshals Service and local police for stopping the suspect before he was able to reach Kavanaugh’s home.

“The heightened security at the homes of the justices began after a request [Virginia] Gov. [Glenn] Youngkin and I made to Atty. Gen. [Merrick] Garland last month,” Hogan said in a statement. “We will continue to partner with both federal and local law enforcement officials to help ensure these residential areas are secure. I call on leaders in both parties in Washington to strongly condemn these actions in no uncertain terms. It is vital to our constitutional system that the justices be able to carry out their duties without fear of violence against them and their families.”

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) co-sponsored a Senate bill that would extend police protection to the families of Supreme Court justices.

He urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to keep Congress in session until the bill is passed.

Times staff writer Christian Martinez contributed to this report.