At a Trump campaign rally in Las Vegas on June 18, a 20-year-old man, Michael Sandford, struck up a conversation with a police officer, claiming he wanted Trump’s autograph, then reached for the officer’s weapon with both hands and tried to pull it out of the holster. He says he wanted to kill Trump.
The would-be assassin was quickly arrested and removed by police. Here are important facts you need to know.
Michael Sandford was in the United States ILLEGALLY – He was here on a visa overstay.
Sandford is from the town of Surrey, near London, England. He came to the United States 18 months ago, and overstayed his visa. He had fallen in love with an American girl while she was in England, but she moved back home to New Jersey with her parents. He was so depressed that his parents gave him money to travel to the U.S. to be near his girlfriend. It is unknown if the couple are still together.
Sandford has a disability.
According to his parents, Sandford has a form of Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anorexia, and is not good at communicating. He left school when he was 15 “because he couldn’t cope with it”, has no job skills or work experience. His parents have been sending him money, but much of the time they don’t know where he is. His father said he is typically a loner, never had friends in school, and has never had any interest in politics or world events.
Sandford’s parents had contacted the American Embassy about their son.
The American Embassy KNEW Sandford was in the country illegally on a visa overstay, yet did nothing.
Sandford’s father, Michael Davey, said, “He’s been refusing to come back and we were worried about him, we were in contact with the American Embassy telling them we were worried about him. The American authorities said, ‘He’s over 18 we can’t do anything.’”
Sandford confessed his intentions.
He told the Secret Service agent who questioned him that he drove to Vegas from Hoboken, New Jersey, with the intention of killing Donald Trump. He had gone to the Battlefield Vegas gun range the day before the rally to practice shooting a gun.
Sandford also told Secret Service Special Agent Jason Swierkowski that he had been planning to kill Trump for a year “but decided to act on this occasion because he finally felt confident about trying it,” court documents state. He added that he would try it again if he could. He had a ticket to Trump’s next rally in Phoenix in case this attempt didn’t work out.
Sandford faces a possible 10-year prison sentence.
Security footage from the event shows Sandford leaving his seat and approaching the officer, grabbing at his weapon. His first court appearance was Monday, June 20, and he remains in federal custody. He was appointed a public defender, who said in spite of his Asperger’s Syndrome, he is still able to stand trial. Reportedly, his next court date is July 5.