A pattern of violence against the US government appears to have emerged over the last week, and another dead body connected to political inner-circles who turned up Monday has some on capitol hill trying their best not to speculate.
Authorities discovered Ashley Turton, former chief of staff to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), dead in a burnt-out car Monday. Turton’s husband was Dan Turton, the White House liaison to the House of Representatives.
She was employed as a lobbyist for Progress Energy at the time of her death.
And Turton is just the latest: a well-heeled former chief of staff to the president of Arizona’s state senate was found dead of a gunshot wound in mid-December. Police were investigating it as a homicide.
Washington DC Fire and Metropolitan Police departments found Turton’s BMW in a garage on the 800 block of A Street Southeast.
“This could be just a tragic freak accident,” Metropolitan Police Lt. Nicholas Breul told Roll Call. “And that’s why we’re crossing our i’s and dotting our t’s because it is a little freaky, and we need to figure out why. But there is no indication now that there was any crime.”
Breul said there was a joint investigation into the cause of the incident.
The death of Turton and mass attacks on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 18 others in Arizona came soon after incendiary devices were discovered in DC and Maryland postal facilities last week.
On Thursday, packages addressed to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and his secretary of transportation flashed, smoked and caused minor injuries.
A similar incendiary device addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited in a DC postal facility Friday.
Another little-noticed killing of a former government official may also be getting more attention now. In late December, 51-year-old Christopher Smith was found dead of a gunshot wound inside of a vehicle in Phoenix.
Smith had worked as chief of staff to Brenda Burns (R-AZ) during her tenure as president of the Arizona state Senate. He most recently was a lobbyist for Cox Communications, and served as Executive Director at the Goldwater Institute.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said Sunday that he wasn’t surprised when he found out about the Saturday shootings.
“I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign,” he wrote. “I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again.”
“One of these days, someone was bound to take it to the next level. And now someone has,” Krugman added.
With additional reporting by Stephen C. Webster.