By Malia Zimmerman – HONOLULU – The former Hawaii resident who threatened to decapitate Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was arrested Wednesday in Tijuana, Mexico, by Policia Estatal Preventiva, Baja California State Police Fugitive Unit.
Aniruddha Sherbow, 43, who was turned over to FBI agents in San Diego, Calif., will have his initial court appearance on Friday, August 30 in San Diego, before he is transported to Washington, D.C., to face the outstanding charge of “transmission of threats in interstate commerce.”
The team that searched for and ultimately captured for Sherbow after he made the threats against Gabbard on August 1 and August 3, included Policia Estatal Preventiva, Baja California State Police Fugitive Unit; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, San Ysidro; U.S. Marshalls Service, District of Columbia; U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia; and the San Diego and Honolulu Divisions of the FBI.
A federal arrest warrant was issued in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after Sherbow sent an extensive email to FBI agents and the media that said: “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.”
Gabbard , 32, obtained a three-year restraining order against Sherbow in 2011 after she said he threatened and harassed her. At the time, Gabbard was serving on the Honolulu City Council, but since she was elected to Congress in 2012 as “one of the first two female combat veterans, first Hindu and first female of Samoan ancestry to ever serve as a member of the U.S. Congress.” Gabbard has extensive military experience, including two tours of combat duty in the Middle East, and she is currently a Captain in the Hawaii National Guard’s 29th Brigade Combat Team. She also was recently featured in Vogue magazine, and dubbed a “Hawaiian Heartbreaker” and the 6th most attractive woman in Washington DC by The Hill.
Sherbow, a philosophy major and writer, corresponded exclusively with Hawaii Reporter in a series of emails about his reasons for making threats against Gabbard, who he referred to as “The Prima Donna” who made him feel “insignificant.”
Sherbow, who goes by the name “Sphinx the writer,” said he had offered to volunteer in Gabbard’s council office with writing press releases and other correspondence, but was shunned, and then ultimately arrested and held for three days in a cell until he was released without being charged.
In one of his emails, Sherbow wrote: “I was never actually served with the restraining order. There was no bail and no case. Thrown out. I actually took Tulsi to task about her lack of responsiveness, which many people have complained about. But she couldn’t say that, so she made it sound like I threatened her.”
Sherbow said he felt compelled to contact Gabbard initially because “he was born into the same obscure Western-Hindu tradition as Tulsi, the Hare Krishna Movement, also known as the Brahma Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya.”
He wrote: “Because of this last connection, I think she is counting on me not hurting her. And she is right to count on it, because it is in fact very difficult for me to hurt her. However, we all have our limits, and I have reached mine. At this point, if you stuck Tulsi’s head in front of me, I’d have it off in two seconds flat. … I hoped the whole thing might have some good ending somehow, but I’m not seeing one.”
Sherbow told Hawaii Reporter, “Sometimes I also think that Tulsi just needs a bad guy in her life, and I am the one who has been chosen, and resistance is futile. You know, what she did basically took my entire life, and it has had repercussions all around me, to everyone connected to me. I want my life back, I don’t like being tortured, and I don’t like those connected to me having to suffer. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that I don’t think people elected her to character assassinate people, or to pick on people. She is in a trusted position.”
Sherbow disclosed in his letter to Hawaii Reporter that he had to leave the United States because of negative media attention in a local newspaper article that Gabbard had generated from him during their original dispute.
“The article then got onto the Internet, and has effectively stopped me from getting any normal job, any normal place to stay, continuing with school, or getting into any relationships,” Sherbow said.
FBI Special Agent Tom Simon, who is based in Hawaii, said: “The FBI hopes that this arrest will give Representative Gabbard some peace of mind and a greater feeling of safety as she represents the people of Hawaii in Congress.”
Gabbard has not commented on Sherbow’s recent threats against her or his capture but her office issued a statement saying “the congresswoman is grateful for the work of the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, and all law enforcement officers involved in this investigation.”