A 25-year-old military vet is charged with attempted murder after shooting a Black teenager at rally for President Donald Trump near the state Capitol in Iowa last month.
Michael McKinney, a St. Charles, Iowa, resident, told police he fired into a car of Black teens at the Dec. 6 rally in Des Moines in self-defense.
The Associated Press reported that the conflict began when a group of Trump supporters clashed with a group of four minor teenage girls in a vehicle.
According to the driver’s mother, Danielle Gross, the teens and the Trump supporters argued about politics. Gross said the demonstrators hurled racial slurs at the teens.
“They were saying some racist slurs and the girls argued with them and it went from there,” she said.
According to the Trump supporters, the girls started the confrontation and made threats.
Rallygoers surrounded the vehicle while the girls were inside. The driver put the car in reverse and ran into a truck. It’s not clear if she struck the vehicle intentionally.
McKinney said he fired into the vehicle to protect himself. According to court documents, McKinney wasn’t involved in the verbal exchange that led up to the shooting. The documents say McKinney walked toward the vehicle, pulled a gun from his waistband, and shot into the car from 15 feet away.
A 15-year-old girl arguing with the Trump supporters through the sun roof was struck in the leg. The driver sped off to take the girl to the hospital.
McKinney was wearing body armor and had two loaded magazines in his pants, along with another firearm with Trump decals in his vehicle.
He initially did not come forward as the shooter and put the shell casing in the back of his car to cover his tracks. He confessed after others identified him.
On social media, McKinney has expressed support for the right-wing Proud Boys group. Authorities have not commented about whether the shooting was motivated by race.
McKinney, a former member of the National Guard, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. He remains behind bars after a judge rejected his request for bond.