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Trump rushed offstage at rally, minor scuffle gets spun as an “assassination attempt”

by Tess Owen
Nov 6 2016, 6:23am

Secret Service hurried Donald Trump from the podium during a campaign event in Reno, Nevada on Saturday evening, after someone in the crowd seemed to yell “gun.” In a statement, the Secret Service said that a suspect was apprehended and no gun was found.

Before the Republican nominee exited the stage, a small scuffle unfolded in the front of the crowd, the Washington Post reported, in which a man had a sign reading “Republicans against Trump” and someone shouted “gun.” The man was led away and searched, and Trump returned to the stage.

The Reno Gazette-Journal spoke to the man at the center of the scuffle, Austyn Crites, 33, a registered Republican and an inventor who works with high-altitude balloons. Crites said that the crowd began booing him and that one man tried to snatch his “Republicans against Trump” sign.

That’s when things escalated: “Multiple people just tackled me down, kicking me, choking me and just beating me up,” he told the Gazette-Journal. “That’s when things even got crazier. I was on the ground and people were holding my arms, legs and I kept saying I can barely breathe. I was turning my neck just to get a little bit of air to keep from passing out.”

Crites told the Guardian that people were piled on top of him and grabbing his testicles, when he heard someone yell “something about a gun.” He said he was relieved when the police showed up.

The situation was framed by some on social media as an “assassination attempt.” Donald Trump Jr. and Trump social media campaign aide Dan Scavino Jr. retweeted claims regarding the alleged “assassination attempt,” according to tweets screen-shotted by The Washington Post, which have since been removed.

Others, such as right-wing blogger the Gateway Pundit, were still staying true to those claims on Sunday morning.