Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was rushed offstage by the Secret Service during a rally in Nevada Saturday night, but returned within minutes.
The agency said in a statement that Trump was removed from the stage at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center after someone shouted "Gun!", causing a commotion. The Secret Service said that one person was apprehended and no weapon was found after a search of the surrounding area.
KRXI reported that one man holding a "Republicans Against Trump" sign was briefly detained and was later released from custody.
The man identified himself as Austyn Crites, 33, of Reno. In an interview with the Guardian, Crites described himself as a Republican and a conservative who was opposed to a possible Trump presidency.
A source told Fox News that someone in the crowd saw another attendee reach around his back and toward his waistband. The first person shouted "Gun!" several times, sparking panic right in front of the stage where Trump was speaking.
Two Secret Service agents quickly surrounded Trump before hustling him off the stage. Trump returned moments later and told the crowd," "Nobody said it was going to be easy for us. But we will never be stopped. Never, ever be stopped."
Witness David Newton told the Reno Gazette-Journal that the man holding the sign was trying to get closer to the stage just before the disturbance.
"He had something on his belly. I don’t know what it was,” Newton told the paper. “Somebody yelled 'gun' and everyone jumped on him. My friend put his knee on his head, but he kept getting up.”
Crites confirmed witness accounts that he was moving toward the crowd toward the stage, but denied that he was aggressive or rude. He told the Guardian the sign was initially greeted with boos, but then "people next to me [started] to get violent; they’re grabbing at my arm, trying to rip the sign out of my hand."
Crites went on to claim that members of the crowd kicked and punched him, while at least one person grabbed his testicles. He said he was relieved when authorities put him in handcuffs and escorted him from the arena.
"The people who attacked me – I’m not blaming them," Crites said. I’m blaming Donald Trump’s hate rhetoric." The man went on to call Trump a "facist" and a "dictator."
After the incident, Trump's son, Donald Jr. and top campaign aide Dan Scavino falsely claimed that there had been an "assassination attempt" against the candidate, even though no weapon was found.
Both men re-tweeted a message that read, "Hillary ran away from rain today [at a rally in Florida]. Trump is back on stage minutes after assassination attempt."
At Trump's next rally in Denver, a pastor, introduced as Father Andre Y-Sebastian Mahanna, also falsely called the Reno incident "an attempt of murder against Mr. Trump." Mahanna blamed the incident on the media for inciting hate against the Republican nominee.
The Secret Service statement noted that magnetometers are used at presidential campaign sites.
"All general public attending these events must go through a magnetometer screening prior to entering a protected area," the agency said.
Source: Fox News'