A man who attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Lubbock, TX, with an AR-15 has been arrested and charged with “making interstate threats.”
Federal officials told local media that Emmanuel Quinones, 25, attended the rally with a loaded Smith & Wesson AR-15 with the intent to shoot “MAGA instigators.”
Video from the incident shows Quinones holding his rifle at the low ready position while protestors yell and record on their phones. Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said the man’s actions caused panic among the protestors, and he allegedly refused a Lubbock police officer’s verbal commands to drop the rifle.
Off-camera, an officer points his handgun at Quinones, which prompts him to drop his rifle. Then, one of the protestors tries to tackle the man, and one of the officers appears to injure himself. At the video’s conclusion, Quinones starts a “hands up, don’t shoot” chant, which is repeated by the crowd.
This just happened in Lubbock at our protest rally! Someone showed up with an automatic weapon. @LubbockPolice came in a helped take him down. #Lubbock #Texas #blm #BlackLivesMatter #rally #maga pic.twitter.com/cy7sfBA4Ty— Mark Wilson (@themawilson) May 31, 2020
Quinones allegedly shouted, “this is a revolution” and “President Trump must die” as he was taken into custody, according to the criminal complaint obtained by local media.
He told police that he attended the protest with his rifle to protect demonstrators from “MAGA instigators,” who he planned to shoot on sight. He claimed the police could not identify these counter-protestors, but that he could.
Reports do not specify the evidence investigators used to bring the charges, but Quinones posted on Facebook on May 28 an image of an AR-15 lower from Palmetto State Armory with the caption, “Gonna get some more of these to off racists and MAGA people.”
“Instead of respecting citizens’ rights to respectfully voice their feelings, this defendant incited panic, putting everyone present – including those he claimed to support – in danger,” said Cox. “We will not tolerate attempts to instill terror or encourage violence at otherwise peaceful protests.”
“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. In this case, the defendant threatened multiple lives including the President of the United States and that will not be tolerated,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno.
Openly carrying a firearm is not a crime in Texas, but state law does prohibit displaying a firearm in a public place “in a manner calculated to alarm.”
Quinones is vocal about his anti-Trump sentiments on Facebook and has been posting constantly over the last week.
According to his Facebook profile, Quinones is a graduate student at Texas Tech.
If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison.