London: A British youth arrested at a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas told authorities he tried to grab a police officer’s gun and wanted to shoot the billionaire Republican presidential candidate.
Protester Michael Steven Sandford, who appeared in court on Monday, even went to a gun range on Friday so he could learn how to fire a pistol.
The 20-year-old was arrested at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino on Saturday after going for a metro police officer’s gun.
Sandford, who is originally from Surrey and was carrying a UK driver’s licence, had been living illegally for 18 months in New Jersey after his visa expired and had been sleeping in his car.
A secret service report said Sandford told officers he had been planning the Vegas assassination for around 12 months and believed he would die in the process.
He also had tickets for a rally in Phoenix later that day in case the gun grab failed and told officers if Trump ‘were on the street tomorrow, he would try this again’.
Held: Sandford was arrested after allegedly grabbing the handle of an officer’s gun in an attempt to remove it
The court heard from a public defender that Sandford is autistic, while his mother told federal magistrate judge George Foley that he had been treated for obsessive compulsive disorder and anorexia when younger.
Despite living in Hoboken for 18 months, he did not have permission to be in the US and was unemployed and living out of his car. Sandford was charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds, according to a complaint filed on Monday in US District Court in Nevada.
It cites a report by Special Agent Swierkowski, whose first name was not included, saying Sandford told officers he drove from California to kill Trump and went to a Las Vegas gun range the day before to learn to shoot.