By Ishena Robinson, The Root
According to the Associated Press, McKinney was wearing body armor, toting a pistol, had additional loaded magazines on his person and another gun plastered with Trump stickers in his car when he shot the teen during an argument she and her friends’ were having with the rally attendees.
McKinney maintained that he shot the victim in self-defense, while the mother of one of the teens told AP that they had been surrounded by Trump supporters who were shouting racial slurs and threats when the veteran opened fire.
Rallygoers blamed the teens for starting the confrontation, saying they were harassing and threatening the crowd.
The girls’ car ended up surrounded by Trump supporters who were yelling and honking horns before the driver went in reverse and struck a pickup. It’s unclear whether the collision was accidental. McKinney told police he fired at that point to protect himself.
An investigator says in court documents that McKinney does not appear to be among those rallygoers who exchanged words with the girls before the shooting. Bystander video obtained by police shows McKinney approaching the vehicle, pulling a handgun from his waistband and firing into the car from 15 feet (4.5 meters) away, according to court documents.
The bullet hit the leg of a girl who had been arguing with members of the crowd through the vehicle’s sunroof. The car sped off to take her to a hospital.
Bob Brekke Jr., a 73-year-old man whose pickup truck the girls hit during the rally, told AP that he and his fellow Trump supporters had been “having fun” taunting the teens—but also said he was relieved when McKinney shot them because the thought they might be armed. I doubt that’s why he was relieved, but sure.
There’s also the issue of why these teens thought it would be a good time to get into it with a bunch of deranged MAGA supporters. Is such a waste of time really worth the proven likelihood that shots will be fired? Again, the Jan. 6 violence in D.C. shows that many Trump supporters are eager for violence and trained in waging war. The armored suspect in this case also confirms that many of them have a lot of weaponry stocked up.
McKinney remains in jail without bond and faces a 25 year prison sentence if he is convicted for the charge of attempted murder.
This article originally appeared on The Root.