Donald Trump was rushed off the stage by Secret Service agents on Saturday night while making a speech at a rally in Nevada, sparking panic in the crowd.
The Republican nominee shielded his eyes and looked into the crowd and was then suddenly removed from view by two agents as a disturbance unfolded near the stage.
Several witnesses said they heard shouts of “he’s got a gun”. The incident prompted the crowd to react in panic, with several hundred people surging towards the back of the hall in Reno.
Breaking. Trump escorted tom stage. Seconds ago. Man arrested. Armed police flooding crowd. People here very panicked. pic.twitter.com/5I2K0r9JLP — Paul Lewis (@PaulLewis) November 6, 2016
However, none of those witnesses saw a weapon. One man said he believed a tightly folded poster had been misidentified as a firearm.
Several witnesses close to where the man in question was detained described him being wrestled to the ground by several Trump supporters, who lay on top of him.
“I saw a man to my right and then it looked like a fight broke out,” said Michael Newton, 45, who helped detain the man. “There were four or five guys on top of him. Then the people on top of him shouted ‘he’s got a gun, he’s got a gun’. That’s when I also jumped on top of him to help; we were all shouting to alert the Secret Service.”
The man, who was bald, and looked in his 30s or 40s, was attempting to wriggle free.
Amid the chaos, there were conflicting descriptions from witnesses, although most described seeing a man rushing toward the front of the stage before he was tackled to the ground.
No-one I spoke to saw a weapon. They just heard shouts. Even one of the men who jumped on top of the man said he didn’t see any weapon.— Paul Lewis (@PaulLewis) November 6, 2016
“It was like he was running forward to get to the front,” said a man who declined to give his name. “He was saying ‘excuse me, excuse me’, working his way to the front.” One woman, who gave her name as Lauren, said she saw the same man looking “wild eyed”.
Several minutes later, a balding white male wearing a hoodie was escorted out in handcuffs by number of police officers.
The main in question has since been released, according to reports.
The US Secret Service said Trump’s security detail removed the Republican nominee from the stage after seeing a commotion in the crowd.
“Immediately in front of the stage, an unidentified individual shouted ‘gun’. Secret Service agents and Reno police officers immediately apprehended the subject. Upon a thorough search of the subject and the surrounding area, no weapon was found,” a spokesman said in a statement.
The Secret Service and Reno police are continuing their investigations.
Eventually, Trump returned to the stage and said: “Nobody said it was going to be easy but we will never be stopped. We will never be stopped.”
He added “I want to thank the Secret Service, those guys are fantastic.”
Here is video of the detained man being taken away. It happened minutes after Trump was rushed from stage. Video provided to me by witness. pic.twitter.com/SisR9v539H
— Paul Lewis (@PaulLewis) November 6, 2016
The Republican nominee then returned to his stump speech and finished reading it from a teleprompter.
His camp later thanked the Secret Service and police for their swift response.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2016
This was the second time the Secret Service was forced to remove Trump from the stage. At a March rally in Ohio, Trump was escorted off after a man rushed the stage, saying he wanted to “bully the bully”.
At a June rally in Las Vegas, a British man, Michael Sandford, tried to grab a police officer’s gun in an attempt to use it to shoot Trump. He pled guilty in September and faces up to two years in prison and deportation from the US. Sandford’s attorney said the man was delusional at the time.
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