Man at Vegas rally said he wanted to kill Trump, authorities say

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Las Vegas on June 18.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

A man with California ties appeared in court Monday after being arrested on suspicion of trying to seize a gun from a police officer so he could shoot Donald Trump at his weekend rally in Las Vegas.

Michael Steven Sandford, 19, was ordered detained during a hearing in federal court Monday afternoon because he is dangerous and a flight risk, said Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 5 on a charge of trying to commit an act of violence on restricted grounds.

A five-page document laid out Sandford’s activities leading up to his arrest and his statements to law enforcement officers, according to authorities.


On Saturday, Sandford approached a police officer at a Trump rally at the Treasure Island casino and said he was trying to get the presumptive GOP nominee’s autograph. Sandford then tried to grab the officer’s gun with both hands, was arrested and turned over to the Secret Service, which protects Trump.

Sandford told officers that he drove to Las Vegas from California on Thursday with the intent to kill Trump. On Friday, he went to a gun range and fired 20 rounds from a 9-millimeter Glock pistol, the first time he had ever fired a gun.

“Sandford further states that if he were on the street tomorrow, he would try this again,” the complaint said, adding that Sandford had been planning to kill Trump for a year.

He also told officers that he was convinced he would be killed by law enforcement after getting off one or two shots.

Little information about Sandford was available Monday. He is a citizen of Britain. He told officers that he had been in the United States for a year and a half, living in Hoboken, N.J., before driving at some point to the Inland Empire, according to the complaint.


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4:47 p.m.: The story was updated with the suspect’s court appearance.


3:18 p.m.: The story was updated with reporting from a Times staff writer.

The story was originally published at 1:40 p.m.