Cops: Man Who Wanted to Kill Trump Was Willing to Die

Michael Sandford has history of mental illness
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2016 7:11 AM CDT
Cops: Man Who Wanted to Kill Trump Was Willing to Die
Police remove Michael Sandford from a Las Vegas casino.   (John Locher)

A British man accused of telling authorities he wanted to kill Donald Trump was unemployed, living out of his car, and had been treated in the past for OCD and anorexia, authorities say. People who knew 20-year-old Michael Sandford, arrested at a Las Vegas rally on Saturday, tell the AP he was intelligent and that signs of his Asperger's syndrome became more obvious as he got older. Sandford's father describes his son—who apparently outstayed his visa after moving to New Jersey to be with a girlfriend—as polite and peaceful and calls the arrest an "absolute shock." "Whether he's been blackmailed or put up to it, that's the only thing me and his mum can think of," he tells the Portsmouth News. "It's so against his nature and obviously with his Asperger's, we think somebody has got hold of him and done something."

US Secret Service agents say Sandford approached an officer at the Trump campaign stop to say he wanted Trump's autograph, then tried to take the officer's gun. In an interview, Sandford told agents he wanted to shoot Trump and was prepared to die at the hands of police in the assassination attempt, according to the criminal complaint. Sandford was charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds and was assigned a court-appointed attorney. He has not yet entered a plea and was denied bail after a judge said he was a flight risk and posed a threat to the community. "There may be some issues regarding the mental health of the defendant," the judge said during a court hearing Monday, while Sandford appeared to tremble in his seat. A public defender said Sandford previously attempted suicide and once ran away from a hospital in England. Still, she believes he's competent to stand trial. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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