A Texas man admitted to threatening to kill “racists and MAGA people” before attending a Black Lives Matter protest with a gun, officials say.
Emmanuel Quinones, 25, pleaded guilty Friday to interstate threatening communications after his arrest during a peaceful protest in Lubbock, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
Quinones is accused of holding the rifle in a “low ready” firing stance with the gun barrel pointed to the ground as “panic rippled through the assembled crowd,” prosecutors say. A police officer ordered him to drop the gun, but Quinones refused until a protester moved to tackle him, prosecutors say.
Video captured at the protest shows a man with a rifle standing near protesters. Then he drops the gun as another man tackles him. As people run at the man who was armed, a police officer falls to the ground.
“Officer, are you OK?” a woman can be heard asking the officer.
Crowd members push the gun toward the officer and away from the man while others help detain the suspect.
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
During the investigation, authorities uncovered Facebook posts by Quinones that he admitted to writing.
“While a race riot erupted in Minneapolis the President literally retweeted a video of one of his supporters saying the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat. These people are PUSHING for America to rip itself to shreds. Disgusting. I’ll tell you right now if you keep provoking regular people we’ll make sure you never cross that line ever again. I guarantee it,” Quinones wrote in a Facebook post, according to prosecutors.
In another post, Quinones indicated plans to buy gun parts “to off racists and MAGA (Make America Great Again) people,” prosecutors say.
Quinones could be sentenced up to five years in prison.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said in a news release when Quinones was charged. “We will not tolerate attempts to instill terror or encourage violence at otherwise peaceful protests.”