Van plows through Jacksonville voter registration tent, narrowly missing volunteers, police say

Van plows into voter registration tent

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE 2/15/2020: Trump Victory and the Republican Party of Duval County hosted a press conference and voter registration event at noon Saturday. This followed the politically motivated attacks against volunteers registering voters for President Trump.

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UPDATE, 2/11/2020: Action News Jax obtained from a source an unredacted arrest report for a man accused of running into a Republican voter registration tent in Jacksonville on Saturday.

According to a portion of the report, Gregory Timm said he ran into a Republican voter registration tent because someone had to take a stand and that and “he did not like Donald Trump.”

UPDATE 2/9/2020: The suspect has been identified as Gregory William Loel Timm, 27.

He has been arrested on two counts of aggravated assault on a person 65 years of age or older, one count of criminal mischief and for driving with a suspended license, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Timm was apart of a local union, IATSE Local 115, according to the organization. He was part of the group for 11 months.

The union released this statement on Timm’s arrest:

"IATSE Local Union 115 has learned that one of our referrals, Gregory William Timm, was involved in an incident on February 8, 2020 at a GOP voter registration event. First and foremost, we are glad that no one was injured in that incident. IATSE Local Union 115 never condones violence against persons or property for any reason whatsoever.

Timm is not an employee of this Local but is referred for job placement thru the Local’s hiring hall and has been since March 2019.

IATSE Local 115 represents over 650 stage technicians throughout the North Florida area. Of these 650 workers, approximately 175 are IATSE Union Members. Timm does not hold membership in IATSE Local 115 but is referred for work through the Collective Bargaining Agreements the Local has with over 100 employers.

The membership of IATSE Local 115 is a diverse group of workers with varying political beliefs and is outraged at the actions of Gregory William Timm."

Driver identified and arrested

Original story below:

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is reporting that a van drove through the Republican Party of Duval County’s tent while they were registering voters Saturday afternoon.

Van plows through Republican Party registration table.
Van plows through Republican Party registration table. (Republican Party of Duval County/Republican Party of Duval County)

The Republican Party of Duval County had six volunteers at the Kernan Village shopping center where they were registering voters. JSO reported that around 3:45 p.m., an older brown van, driven by a white man in his early 20s, approached the tent. He then drove right through the table and tent with his van. The suspect then stopped, got out of the van and took a video of the scene, flipped off the victims and fled. As of now, the suspect has not been identified.

Mark Alfieri was volunteering at the tent with five women.

He said the van came to within a half of a foot of people.

“Kind of out of the blue, a man approached us in a van, was waving at us, kind of a friendly demeanor, thought he was coming up to talk to us, instead he accelerated his vehicle and plowed right into our tent, our tables,” Alfieri said.

“After he ran over everything, he backed up, took out a cell phone, kind of recorded the damage, made some obscene gestures at us and then proceeded to leave the complex,” Alfieri said.

The driver of the brown van flipped off the volunteers before speeding away.
The driver of the brown van flipped off the volunteers before speeding away. (Republican Party of Duval County/Republican Party of Duval County)

JSO is saying that intelligence detectives will be looking into this as an aggravated assault case as several people could have been seriously hurt.

They do not know if the motivation of the suspect was political in nature as the investigation is just starting.

“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers,” said Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black. “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.”

The Republican Party of Duval County posted on Facebook that they plan to redouble their efforts to register voters.

Daniel Henry, the President of the Duval County Democratic Party, released a statement saying he is condemning the attack.

“The Duval County Democratic Party condemns this cowardly act of violence. No one’s life should be placed in danger for exercising their first amendment rights. 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 this election cycle and beyond. We look forward to JSO’s arrest of the perpetrator.”

Henry later added:

"The perpetrator of this violent and cowardly act should not be used by either side to politicize or demonize fellow Americans. We hope the Duval GOP will join us in asking our fellow citizens to act with dignity, civility and respect for one another during this election cycle and beyond. Acts of violence shouldn’t be politicized.”

President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident, saying “Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with!”

Republican politicians like Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott, GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry are tweeting that they are thankful no one was hurt.