Trump rushed off stage in Nevada after gun scare
Donald Trump was rushed off the stage by Secret Service agents during a rally in Reno after a protester caused chaos over fears he had a gun.
Published: November 6, 2016, 10:49 am
A senior Trump campaign official told the British daily, DailyMail.com that the suspect, whom bystanders had already identified as an anti-Trump protester, caused a panic when he reached into his waistband.
The US Secret Service has issued a statement saying that “a commotion” had occurred “in the crowd immediately in front of the stage” during which “an unidentified individual shouted, ‘gun’.”
Another source told Fox News that someone in the crowd saw another attendee reach toward his waistband. The first person shouted “Gun!” several times.
The agents rushed to protect Trump shouting “Go! Go!” as they ran crouching from the podium, while Austyn Crites, 33, was pinned to the ground. Chaos ensued as participants scattered, screaming.
After a thorough search of the suspect, “no weapon was found,” the Secret Service statement concluded, but authorities never confirmed early reports that Crites was carrying a firearm.
Moments before the incident, Trump could be seen shielding his eyes from the lights in order to peer into the crowd as a struggle broke out.
Crites, who has since been released, supports Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to his Facebook page.
Witness Donald Newton, 45, of California who was in the crowd, said he was next to Crites, who started heading toward the stage. “He had something on his belly. I don’t know what it was,” Newton told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Newton said he felt like Crites was the aggressor. “I saw his hand contact someone’s face,” he said. “Maybe two people.”
Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr retweeted a post on Twitter describing it as an “assassination attempt”.
Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino Jr also retweeted the post, also calling the incident an assassination attempt.
A short time after the fracas, Trump returned onstage and continued his rally speech. He thanked the Secret Service for their prompt response.
This is the second attempt by a protester to reach Trump on stage in Nevada. During a Las Vegas rally in June, Michael Steven Sanford approached a Las Vegas police officer and tried to grab his weapon with the intention of shooting Trump. Police thwarted the attempt.
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