November 5, 2016 - 8:53 pm
RENO — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was hustled offstage at a rally Saturday evening but returned after a brief, hectic interlude involving someone attending the event.
Trump left abruptly after calling out a person he said was a Clinton supporter amid a crowd of a few thousand Trump supporters. Trump was finishing a 30-minute speech when the incident occurred.
“We have one of those guys from the Hillary Clinton campaign,” Trump said. “How much are you being paid, $1,500?”
The crowd milled around the individual as the incident played out at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
A few seconds later, the press corps traveling with Trump was told to leave to get to the airport for Trump’s departure.
But after a hectic few minutes, Trump returned to the stage to finish his remarks.
The Republican presidential nominee had been speaking to supporters for a while when the disturbance broke out in the crowd close to the lectern. Two Secret Service agents quickly surrounded Trump and hustled him away.
In a statement shortly after the incident, the Secret Service said a person in front of the stage had shouted “Gun!” but that no weapon was found after a search of the person and the immediate area. A man was apprehended, but officials did not identify the person or disclose whether the person had been charged with a crime.
The Secret Service’s statement noted that magnetometers are used at presidential campaign sites.
“All general public attending these events must go through a magnetometer screening prior to entering a protected area,” the agency said.
Paul Lewis, a U.S. West Coast bureau chief for the British newspaper The Guardian, tweeted that the apprehended man was 33-year-old Austyn Crites, who had been carrying a “Republicans Against Trump” sign.
Lewis interviewed Crites after he’d been released. Lewis tweeted that Crites said he was terrified by how the crowd responded, saying, “I was in survival mode. I knew I could die at that moment.”
The incident is under investigation.
After the incident, Trump issued a statement, expressing thanks to the Secret Service and the law enforcement resources in Reno and the state of Nevada “for their fast and professional response.”
“I also want to thank the many thousands of people present for their unwavering and unbelievable support,” he said. “Nothing will stop us — we will make America great again!”
Earlier in his remarks, Trump predicted a victory for his campaign in Nevada and a GOP return to the White House on Election Day on Tuesday.
“You have to vote with your heart,” Trump said. “You have to vote with your soul to make America great again. Real change means restoring honesty to our government.”
Trump told the cheering crowd they have two choices on Tuesday: a vote for a government run by special interests and donors who “control crooked Hillary Clinton” or a vote for a government “run by you, the American people.”
Polls show a tight race between Trump and Clinton in this battleground state, where Democrats statewide hold an 89,000 advantage over the GOP in active registered voters.
But through the end of early voting in Nevada on Friday, Democrats had an edge going into Tuesday’s general election.
Nevertheless, Republican speakers at the rally said GOP turnout on Tuesday will make up for the difference and generate six electoral votes for Trump.
Trump repeated his common themes at the Reno stop, saying he will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and stop jobs from leaving the United States and Nevada. The hemorrhaging of jobs will be stopped by reducing the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, he said.
It was Trump’s second visit to Nevada in a week. He campaigned in Las Vegas a week ago. His last visit to Reno was in early October, though his vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, campaigned in Reno twice within a week’s time late last month.
The crowd cheered at nearly everything Trump had to say, including his oft-repeated proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump said Clinton supports open borders and sanctuary cities, and he cited examples of where violent acts were committed by people who are not legally residing in the United States.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that Trump accused officials of wrongly keeping polling sites open late in Clark County to boost Democratic early voting turnout.
There appears to be no evidence that is the case, the AP added.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Contact Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.
A Homeland Security official confirms the @ABC report: no gun found, crowd panicked as a guy tried to raise a sign; someone shouted "gun."
— Marc Ambinder (@marcambinder) November 6, 2016
Man who caused disturbance at Trump rally being held in bathroom in back of venue. Officers inside with him, and outside on guard. pic.twitter.com/rh319Gj1Ox
— Jacob Rascon (@Jacobnbc) November 6, 2016
— M. Scott Mahaskey (@smahaskey) November 6, 2016
Trump rally halted after law enforcement tackle and man in the audience and hurry Trump off the stage pic.twitter.com/MyjjBMwIqJ
— Michael C. Bender (@MichaelCBender) November 6, 2016
— Ben Botkin (@BenBotkin1) November 6, 2016
Video of the man being escorted out of the building by Secret Service pic.twitter.com/drkMVSiKYs
— Benjamin Margiott (@BenMargiott) November 6, 2016