WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says state Sen. Bill Stanley should “man up,” after Stanley told police he felt threatened by a message from the father of the WDBJ-TV reporter shot and killed on air this summer.
Andy Parker, the father of 24-year-old Alison Parker, has become a vocal advocate for gun restrictions since the shooting, and has been active in backing Democratic candidates in several key races ahead of Tuesday’s statewide election.
On Tuesday, Parker sent a Facebook message to Stanley that said: “I’m going to be your worst nightmare you little bastard.”
Stanley, a Republican, reported that to police as a threat.
“[Parker] shouldn’t have written what he’d written,” McAuliffe said in response. “But on the other hand, the idea that [Stanley] called the Capitol Police to say ‘I’m worried’ … come on, grow up.”
On WRVA, McAuliffe called the situation part of “silly season.”
“If I called the police every time someone went online and said much worse than ‘I’m going to be your worst nightmare,’ I would spend 24/7 on the phone calling the police,” the governor said. “This is all Capitol [Police], Col. [Anthony] Pike, this is all he would be doing all day.”
Parker is passionate about the issue, and Stanley knew the father didn’t want to physically hurt him, McAuliffe said.
“This is a political stunt by Bill Stanley,” he continued. “Come on Bill, you’re tougher than that, man up, come on, this is ridiculous.”
Stanley told The Washington Post he took the comment from Parker “very seriously as a threat against the safety” of his family.
In addition to contacting Capitol Police and his local sheriff’s department, Stanley has picked up applications for concealed carry permits.
Parker says the threat was purely political.
Stanley represents the district where Parker lives.