A Florida man was arrested after allegedly driving his vehicle into a Republican voter registration tent in Jacksonville on Feb. 8, according to local officials and the county GOP office, which said the suspect intentionally targeted the tent, in what may be an act of politically motivated violence.
Gregory William Loel Timm, 27, was identified as the suspect in the case, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Timm is accused of driving a van through a tent where workers were trying to register voters.
He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a person over the age of 65, criminal mischief, and driving with a suspended license, said the sheriff’s office. The office wrote that a dispute was reported around a Walmart store on Atlantic Boulevard, and when police responded, victims said he drove a van through the tent.
The Republican Party of Duval County said in a statement that six Trump campaign volunteers were “intentionally targeted while registering voters.”
“Thankfully, Republican volunteers narrowly avoided being struck by the accelerating van. The driver sped away after making an obscene gesture toward the crowd,” the statement read.
The Republican organization said it will “redouble” its efforts in the area to aid President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers,” Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black said in a statement. “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.”
Photos posted on the party’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts showed a destroyed tent, toppled tables, and scattered Trump signs in a parking lot.
“It happened so quickly,” Nina Williams, a volunteer, told local news channel News4Jax. “I just barely got out of the way.”
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
Trump on Feb. 8 highlighted the incident, reposting a tweet by GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with!” Trump wrote in his post. And McDaniel, describing the incident as “unprovoked” and “senseless,” said the GOP won’t “be silenced by these cowards.” Other Republican lawmakers and allies of Trump responded to the incident, saying they were thankful no one was injured.
Jacksonville police spokesman Larry Gayle told News4Jax that an investigation is underway.
“We don’t know if this is politically motivated,” Gayle said. “We’ve got detectives coming out. We’re following up on information and trying to determine if we can identify this person right now.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he believes the alleged assault was politically motivated.
“This appears to be a politically-motivated attack on hard-working volunteers in Duval County. Thankful that no one was hurt. [The Duval GOP] will not be silenced or intimidated,” he wrote.