21 Jun 2016

Arrested man 'wanted to shoot Trump'

10:30 am on 21 June 2016

A man who tried to grab a gun at a Trump rally in Las Vegas at the weekend says he wanted to kill the candidate, court papers show.

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas on June 18, 2016.

People attending the rally in Las Vegas on Saturday had to pass through metal detectors manned by police and casino security officials. Photo: AFP

Michael Steven Sandford, believed to be British, is expected to appear in a court in the US state of Nevada on Monday (local time) charged with committing an act of violence on restricted ground, US Attorney's Office spokeswoman Natalie Collins said in an email.

Authorities said the 19-year-old went to a rally for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Saturday at the Treasure Island Casino, and approached a Las Vegas police officer saying he wanted an autograph from the candidate.

He then tried to wrestle the gun from the officer and was arrested.

Las Vegas police said Mr Sandford has been handed over to the US Secret Service.

According to papers filed in the federal court in Nevada, Mr Sandford told a Secret Service agent that he had driven to Las Vegas from California with the goal of shooting Trump.

"Sandford claimed he had been attempting to kill Trump for about a year but decided to act on this occasion because he finally felt confident about trying it," the papers said.

The documents show the man has a British driver's licence and claimed to have been in the United States for a year and a half.

They did not specify his nationality but said he had lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, after coming to the United States.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Sandford has an attorney.

-BBC / Reuters

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs