WASHINGTON -- Justice Harry Blackmun, who has received numerous death threats for writing the high court's opinion legalizing abortion, today said he was shot at through the window of his home last Thursday night.
In a statement issued by his office, Blackmun confirmed that one shot had been fired through the front window of his Arlington, Va., home. No one was injured, and the FBI is investigating the incident.
Blackmun, who authored the high court's 1973 ruling legalizing abortion, has received numerous death threats. The most recent threat, one source said, came last week in a type-written letter.
The letter, postmarked from New York, threatened to blow the justice's brains out and the sender said he would attend the 76-year-old justice's funeral 'and laugh.'
Another source familiar with the incident said Blackmun and his wife were sitting in the room shortly before the shot rang out. Blackmun had just walked out of the room, when the shot was fired. Mrs. Blackmun, who was described as 'quite upset,' was showered with glass. The bullet, which police said was a 9mm slug, was found embedded in a chair.
'It put a hole in the window about the size of an apple or orange,' the source said.
Security around Blackmun has been tightened since the incident. He is under near constant protection, and no longer even touches his mail, sources close to him confirm.
Last October, Blackmun was threatened by an alleged anti-abortion group called the 'Army of God,' which has claimed responsibility for attacks on abortion clinics around the country.
His office acknowledged that Blackmun continued to receive mail denouncing him for the 1973 abortion ruling. In a 1982 television interview, Blackmun said he had been called 'Butcher of Dachau, murderer, Pontius Pilate, King Herod -- you name it.'
Last fall, his office said, 'The justice has received threatening calls and letters periodically, and they are routinely referred to the police.'
At the time, Blackmun received increased security, with a police oficer accompanying most places he goes inside and outside the court. More police officers were stationed around the court building, and inside the courtroom where justices sit publicly to hear oral arguments on pending cases.