A 25-year-old man was arrested after allegedly pushing a park ranger into the water in Austin, Texas.
The incident took place on April 30 at Commons Ford Park, officials told Fox7 in Austin.
Court documents obtained by the station said the ranger recalled standing on a rock near Lake Austin and was talking to a group of people who were drinking and smoking.
Brandon Hicks, the suspect, approached the ranger, who was not named, and pushed him into the water. A video was published on Reddit and other social media websites showing the incident.
The audio suggested that the ranger was telling the group about social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a type of novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Hicks’s “intentional and reckless action” could have caused the ranger to suffer serious bodily harm or even drown, authorities said. He was charged with attempted assault on a public servant.
“Brandon’s intentional and reckless action could have caused the Ranger to strike his head on the dock as he was falling, and render himself unconscious in at least 3 feet of water where he could have drowned to death,” an affidavit said, KXAN reported.
Hicks was in jail on Friday with his bail set at $7,500.
Austin police officer Justin Berry, who arrested Hicks, told the Austin American-Statesman that people were quick to help the ranger and identified Hicks as the suspect.
“The patrons of the park actually came to the aid of the park ranger,” Berry said. “Several people came up to the ranger and apologized for the guy’s behavior. That’s the Austin we know, and that’s the Austin we love.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week announced measures to allow the state to open up again, including public parks.