Jacksonville police report that a driver intentionally crashed a van through a tent where Duval County GOP volunteers were registering voters Saturday afternoon.
Nobody was injured in the 3:45 p.m. attack at Walmart Supercenter, 11900 Atlantic Boulevard, near Kernan Boulevard in the Sandalwood neighborhood, Lt. Larry Gayle of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told reporters at the scene.
Several Duval County GOP volunteers were working at the registration tent when a white man in his early 20s driving an older — possibly 1980s — brown van pulled up toward the tent. He then drove through the tent, endangering the lives of the workers and damaging the tent and tables, Gayle said.
He then drove through the tent, endangering the lives of the workers and damaging the tent and tables, Gayle said.
The driver then stopped, got out of the van and took a video of the scene before he “flipped off” the victims and fled, Gayle said.
After finding out, President Trump weighed in:
Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with! https://t.co/1Pq0hOrzy2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2020
Because the investigation was in the early stage, the police didn’t know the motive. However, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Intelligence Unit were en route to the scene, Gaye said.
“We are investigating this as an aggravated assault,” Gayle said. “Several people were in the area and could have been seriously hurt.”
Gayle also said police are looking into the incident “as in reference to interruption of the political process.”
“JSO is taking the situation very seriously,” he said.
The Sheriff’s Office was checking to see whether the video had been posted on social media or the internet.
The volunteers were very shaken up, he said.
“We don’ know what the suspect’s motivation was, but we are just starting the investigation, Gayle emphasized.
“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers,” Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black told First Coast News, the Times-Union’s news partner.
“The Republican Party of Duval County will not be intimidated by these cowards and we will not be silenced. I call on every Republican in our great city to stand up, get involved and show these radicals that we will not be intimidated from exercising our Constitutional rights,” Black also told First Coast News.
GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel and Senator Scott also weighed in on the attack.
These unprovoked, senseless attacks on @realDonaldTrump‘s supporters need to end. I want to echo the @DuvalGOP in saying: We will not be silenced by cowards, and these disgusting acts will only make us work harder to win November. https://t.co/GQ7OrbtSO2
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) February 9, 2020
This appears to be a politically-motivated attack on hard-working volunteers in Duval County. Thankful that no one was hurt. @DuvalGOP will not be silenced or intimidated. They will redouble their efforts to support strong Republicans in NE Florida and around the state! https://t.co/F4Qi7hk7CR
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) February 8, 2020
Anyone with information can contact the Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000, contact Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
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