(LOS ANGELES) — An armed man accused of impersonating a U.S. Marshal was taken into custody at a Robert Kennedy Jr. campaign event in Los Angeles, California, Friday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
A spokesperson from the LAPD said in a statement to ABC News that a radio call was generated around 4:30 p.m. PT reporting a man with “a loaded gun in a shoulder holster and a badge stating he was a U.S. Marshal.” LAPD officers arrived shortly after and arrested the man. The FBI was also present at the scene.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Kennedy said that members of his private security detail from Gavin de Becker and Associates “spotted and detained an armed man” who attempted to approach him during a campaign speech on Hispanic Heritage Month at the Wilshire Ebell Theater.
LAPD radio traffic on Broadcastify identified the suspect as a Hispanic male with tattoos on his arms, neck and hands.
“The suspect never brandished the gun or threatened anyone. He was taken to Wilshire Station where there was talk of [the] FBI possibly handling,” said the LAPD.
It was later decided that the LAPD would remain the lead agency on the case and that the suspect would “probably be booked on a gun charge,” according to the station’s Watch Commander.
Further booking information on the suspect was not readily available.
In July, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and a bipartisan committee rejected a request from Kennedy for Secret Service protection following an unusually early request from Kennedy’s campaign. Kennedy said at the time that his request “included a 67-page report…detailing unique and well-established security and safety risks aside from commonplace death threats.”
Kennedy, whose father and uncle were both assassinated, raised the issue of a Secret Service detail again in his statement on Friday night, claiming he was the “first presidential candidate in history” to be denied protection upon request.
“I’m still entertaining a hope that President Biden will allow me Secret Service protection,” Kennedy said.
“Major presidential candidates” do receive Secret Service protection during the primaries but there are a number of requirements that candidates must meet, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Once such requirements are met, the secretary of Homeland Security consults with an advisory committee and one additional member selected by the other members of the committee — usually from the Secret Service — and determines if a candidate is eligible for Secret Service protection.
Notably, this is the first time Kennedy has explicitly acknowledged that Gavin de Becker and Associates, whose namesake donated $4.5 million to a pro-Kennedy Super PAC, is providing his security detail.
Asked in July by ABC News if he employed private security following the rejection of his request, Kennedy was cagey about the details despite the presence of men wearing pins with the insignia of Gavin de Becker and Associates.
“I’m not going to tell you my security arrangements for obvious reasons,” Kennedy said.
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