Jacksonville, Florida (CBS/ AP)— A man is under arrest in Florida after he deliberately drove a van into a tent where voters were being registered by local Republicans, authorities in Jacksonville said Sunday.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said via social media that 27-year-old Gregory Timm has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a person 65 years old or older, one count of criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license. The Republican Party of Duval County said it had set up the tent on Saturday to register voters.
The county GOP said via Twitter that six volunteers for President Trump’s campaign “were intentionally targeted while registering voters.”
Police said there were no injuries.
“Kind of out of the blue, a man approached us in a van, was waving at us, kind of a friendly demeanor. [We] thought he was coming up to talk to us. Instead, he accelerated his vehicle and plowed right into our tent, our tables,” volunteer Mark Alfieri told CBS Jacksonville affiliate WJAX-TV.
Afterward, he backed up, recorded the damaged tent and scattered signs on his cell phone and made obscene gestures before leaving, Alfieri said.
The sheriff’s office said deputies responded to the scene after receiving reports of a dispute. The tent was set up in a shopping center parking lot.
WJAX said Timm smiled as he appeared in court Sunday and gave the station’s camera a head nod.
He’s being held on bond of more than $500,000 and is due back in court March 3, the station reported.
WJAX said it checked Timm’s social media posts and didn’t find any obvious political ties.
Citing the president of a local theatrical workers union, television station WTLV reported that Timm was training to be a sound engineer.
In a tweet, national GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said, “These unprovoked, senseless attacks on #realDonaldTrump’s supporters need to end.”
President Trump retweeted that message and added, “Be careful tough guys who you play with!”
In a statement, the Duval County Democratic Party condemned what it called “this cowardly act of violence.”
“No one’s life should be placed in danger for exercising their First Amendment rights,” the statement said. “As Democrats, but more importantly, as residents of this great city of Jacksonville, we call on our fellow citizens to act with dignity, civility and respect for one another during the election cycle and beyond.”