An armed man was arrested by police at an event attended by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., after the Democratic presidential candidate's unsuccessful requests for Secret Service protection since declaring candidacy in April.
Photos provided to The Epoch Times show the man, who was wearing a shirt with "EMS" on the back, being held in handcuffs by police officers outside the event venue in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. Multiple police vehicles were at the scene.
Mr. Kennedy Jr. was at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, located at 4401 West 8th Street, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. The event was held at 4–8 p.m. PT.
A man is taken into police custody outside an event where Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was scheduled to speak at Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 15, 2023. (Provided to The Epoch Times)
The Los Angeles Police Department told The Epoch Times it received a call at around 4:30 p.m. reporting that a male was in front of the event venue with "a badge on their lapel, a gun, and a shoulder holster, and claimed to be a U.S. Marshal."
A spokesperson for Mr. Kennedy Jr. confirmed the incident to The Epoch Times. Mr. Kennedy Jr. had not arrived at the venue yet when the incident occurred.
According to the LAPD, the man reportedly claimed to be employed for the event, but he wasn't recognized by the security staff.
Police cars outside an event attended by Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr, at Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 15, 2023. (Provided to The Epoch Times)
A written note provided by an LAPD officer on the scene to a representative of the campaign, and obtained by The Epoch Times, states:
"Male imp. fed. agent w/ handgun and ammo exposed ... claimed to be employed for event, but wasn't recognized by sec."
The FBI might take over the investigation of the case later, but further details of potential charges are unavailable until the suspect is officially booked, an LAPD spokesperson told The Epoch Times Friday night.
Mr. Kennedy Jr. expressed on Friday night his gratitude for the prompt action taken by the event's security team and the police to ensure his safety.
"I’m very grateful that alert and fast-acting protectors from [security company] Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA) spotted and detained an armed man who attempted to approach me at [the event] tonight," he wrote on X.
"The man, wearing two shoulder holsters with loaded pistols and spare ammunition magazines was carrying a U.S. Marshal badge on a lanyard and beltclip federal ID. He identified himself as a member of my security detail.
"Armed GDBA team members moved quickly to isolate and detain the man until LAPD arrived to make the arrest. I’m also grateful to LAPD for its rapid response," he wrote.
Requests for Protection
In July, Mr. Kennedy Jr. alleged his request for Secret Service protection was denied by the White House.
"Since the assassination of my father in 1968, candidates for president are provided Secret Service protection," Mr. Kennedy Jr. wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
"But not me."
The U.S. Secret Service, according to its website, only provides protection to presidential candidates starting 120 days prior to the general election, which means Mr. Kennedy Jr. won't be eligible for protection until July 2024.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. waves to the audience after delivering a foreign policy speech at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., on June 20, 2023. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Mr. Kennedy Jr. called for the Biden Administration to provide protection again in early August, after one of Ecuador's presidential candidates, Fernando Villavicencio—who vowed to fight corruption in the country—was assassinated.
Mr. Kennedy Jr.'s father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968 at a hotel during his presidential campaign in Los Angeles. After the assassination, the U.S. Secret Service expanded its protection coverage to presidential and vice presidential candidates, according to its website.
After Friday's incident, Mr. Kennedy Jr. wrote on X that he is "still entertaining a hope that President Biden will allow me Secret Service protection."
Mr Kennedy went ahead with his speech at the Hispanic Heritage Event: