Heavily armed and wearing body armor, a military veteran has been charged with attempted murder after shooting a 15-year-old girl at a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa. Although the veteran told police that he fired in self-defense, a bystander video shows him approaching the vehicle before shooting into it.
On December 6, 2020, Michael McKinney, who left the Iowa National Guard in 2017 after a five-year military career, attended a Trump rally in Des Moines while wearing body armor, carrying a pistol with two loaded magazines, and concealing another firearm in his vehicle. During the rally, a large group of Trump supporters were reportedly confronted by a vehicle occupied by four unarmed black girls all aged 16 and under, who were verbally assaulted by the crowd.
Surrounded by Trump supporters who were yelling racial slurs and honking car horns, the girls’ vehicle went in reverse and scratched a pickup truck behind them. According to a bystander video obtained by the police, McKinney approached the vehicle, pulled a handgun from his waistband, and fired into the car from approximately 15 feet away.
A 15-year-old girl, who had been arguing with Trump supporters through the vehicle’s sunroof, was shot in the leg. After the vehicle fled from the scene, she was treated at a local hospital and later recovered from her wound.
Danielle Gross, the teen driver’s mother, told The Associated Press, “They were saying some racist slurs and the girls argued with them and it went from there.”
After the shooting, McKinney allegedly picked up his spent shell casing and hid it in the trunk of his car in order to remove evidence of his crime. He also refused to come forward until other witnesses identified him.
McKinney has claimed that he acted in self-defense after watching the girls’ vehicle back into the pickup truck. But according to court documents, McKinney’s life was not in danger when he shot the teenage girl.
Placed under arrest, McKinney has been charged with attempted murder. Last month, a judge rejected his request to reduce a $500,000 bond.