Emmanuel Quinones, 25, allegedly brought a loaded Smith & Wesson .223 semiautomatic to the protest in Lubbock to “decry” the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas said.
According to the criminal complaint, Quinones refused to drop his weapon when ordered to by a Lubbock police officer -- releasing his weapon only after the officer drew his gun.
A protestor reportedly tackled Quinones who allegedly yelled “this is a revolution” and “President Trump must die” before being taken into custody.
Quinones said he had previously created social media posts intended to “intimidate” President Trump and “MAGA [Make America Great Again] instigators,” including a post on Facebook from May 28 that suggested he intended to obtain gun parts “to off racists and MAGA people,” according to authorities.
“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights,” FBI Dallas Special Agent Matthew J. DeSarno said. “In this case, the defendant threatened multiple lives including the President of the United States and that will not be tolerated.”
Quinones told authorities he attended the protest to protect the demonstrators from “these so-called MAGA instigators, who he planned to shoot on sight,” believing that the police officers would not have been able to identify MAGA protestors.
“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 Tuesday. “We will not tolerate attempts to instill terror or encourage violence at otherwise peaceful protests.”
Quinones made his first appearance in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge D. Gordon Bryant Tuesday.
If convicted, he could face up to five years in federal prison, according to the criminal complaint.
“We will continue working with our local, state and federal partners to apprehend and charge violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law,” DeSarno said in a statement Tuesday.