Roughly 100 people gathered at a park in Huntsville, Alabama, on Saturday to protest the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the border and detaining them in converted warehouses. But as an Episcopal priest began to say a prayer at the rally, a man—later identified as Shane Ryan Sealy, a former high school teacher—walked in front of the protesters, holding a sign saying “ICE ICE Baby” and shouting “Womp womp!”
Sealy’s chant was likely inspired by former Trump campaign staffer Corey Lewandowski, who responded to the news that a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome had been separated from her mother with a sarcastic “Womp womp.”
Sealy’s behavior escalated from there. Later during the event, Sealy reportedly pushed a protester. When the protester pushed him back, Sealy allegedly pulled a gun out of the waistband of his cargo pants, according to AL.com. One protester can be heard shouting “Gun! Gun!” in video of the incident as others dropped to the ground to shield themselves.
Heather Resendez, a co-organizer of the event, later told local news station WAFF that she saw Sealy pull out the gun and heard him say, “I will shoot everybody here.”
Police initially arrested Sealy for possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of a protest but later charged him with menacing and reckless endangerment.
While no shots were fired, Sealy’s actions seemed to have had their intended effect. From WAFF (emphasis added):
After police contained the situation, a ten year old girl was supposed to speak at the event. However, the young girl was so shaken she could not even recite her speech.
So: A grown man with a gun terrorized a 10-year-old girl out of exercising her right to speak out against the Trump administration’s barbaric treatment of immigrant children. It’s safe to say we can expect incidents like this—and much worse—to keep happening before all this is over.