A 19-year-old man who was arrested at a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas over the weekend had extensively plotted to kill the presumptive Republican nominee for president, according to court documents.
Michael Sandford, who is believed to be a British citizen, was arrested on Saturday morning after he tried to grab a police officer’s gun inside the Mystere Theater at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, where Trump was holding a rally.
“Sandford approached [Las Vegas Police] Officer Jacob, stating that he was seeking an autograph from Trump. Sandford then attempted to seize the sidearm of Officer Jacob by grabbing the holster and handle of the firearm with both hands,” prosecutors said in a criminal complaint filed on Monday.
Sandford, who is facing one count of Act of Violence on Restricted Grounds, told investigators that he had been in the United States for about 1.5 year and lived in New Jersey before traveling to California by car. He went to Las Vegas on Thursday after hearing that Trump planned to speak in the city.
“Sandford claimed he had been planning to attempt to kill Trump for about a year but decided to act on this occasion because he finally felt confident about trying it,” the complaint alleges. “Sandford further stated that if he were on the street tomorrow, he would try this again.”
Sandford further told investigators that he had visited a gun range in Las Vegas on Thursday to learn how to shoot a gun, a claim that was corroborated by an employee at the gun range. Sandford believed grabbing the officer’s gun was the easiest way to acquire a gun to shoot Trump.
“Sandford acknowledged that he would likely only be able to fire one to two rounds and stated he was convinced he would be killed by law enforcement during his attempt on Trump’s life,” according to court documents, which allege that Sandford also booked tickets for a Trump rally in Phoenix in case he did not go through with his plans in Las Vegas.
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