Michael McKinney Pleads Guilty To Shooting At Black Teens During Pro-Trump Rally In Iowa
The Army veteran was heavily armed at the rally.
June 20, 2021 at 4:28 pm
Michael McKinney, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, has pleaded guilty to felony charges for firing his handgun into a car full of Black girls who were arguing with rally goers in Iowa last year. The 26-year-old also pleaded guilty to intimidation with a dangerous weapon and willful injury on Wednesday, NBC News reported.
McKinney is expected to receive a prison term at his Aug. 9 sentencing, facing charges that each carry up to 10 years. According to the plea agreement, the state will dismiss four charges, including attempted murder. The Army veteran will also avoid sentencing enhancements that would require him to serve a mandatory minimum of five years on each count before becoming eligible for parole.
McKinney admitted that he intentionally fired into the girls’ vehicle, “causing the occupants to fear serious injury from my action.” One of teens, a 15-year-old girl, was shot in the leg and seriously injured.
Wearing a body armor and heavily armed with weapons, the Saint Charles, Iowa resident participated in a pro-Trump parade in Des Moines on Dec. 6. As the car carrying the girls began following the caravan, a confrontation broke out between the teenagers and the large group of Trump supporters at a Capitol parking lot.
After the conservatives surrounded the girls’ car, the driver put the vehicle in reverse and struck a pickup. McKinney then pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot into the car, striking the 15-year-old girl who was arguing with the group through the vehicle's sunroof.
While the conservative group blamed the girls for instigating the confrontation, a mother of one of the teens said the young women were subjected to racial slurs, NBC Boston reported.
“They were saying some racist slurs and the girls argued with them and it went from there,” Danielle Gross told the news station.
Gross added that the girls made an ill-advised decision to confront rallygoers.
Bob Brekke Jr., the 73-year-old owner of the pickup, said he was glad that McKinney shot into the car and scared the girls away.
“I felt relieved,” Brekke said, adding that the girls had been yelling anti-Trump sentiments at him and others at the rally.
The 73-year-old said the girls were veering in and out of the caravan, and following the Trump supporters to the parking lot where the dispute escalated.
Conservatives criticized authorities for charging McKinney, saying that his actions protected rallygoers. However, Gross said her daughter was traumatized by the shooting that injured her cousin, and that the girl didn't leave the house for a week after the confrontation.
McKinney initially hid his shell casing in the trunk of his car and refused to come forward as the shooter. He surrendered after he was identified by witnesses. Police said the shooter was carrying two loaded magazines in his pants and another firearm in his vehicle.
Many more violent instances have been seen at Trump rallies in recent years.
As Blavity previously reported, a group of Trump supporters also attacked a Black woman taking a stroll through her neighborhood in Los Angeles on the same day of the Capitol attack. Berlinda Nibo said the group heckled her with questions about her choice for president while she was trying to walk away.