An Alabama man was taken into custody after he pulled a firearm at a “Families Belong Together” immigration rally in Huntsville over the weekend.
No shots were fired and no one was injured during the confrontation, but 34-year-old Shane Ryan Sealy was taken into custody for possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of the protest and then charged with menacing and reckless endangerment, AL.com reports.
According to authorities, Sealy, a former high school teacher, apparently started a fight with a protester at the rally, pushing the individual. The protester pushed Sealy back (screw your civility), knocking him over, which is when Sealy pulled out the weapon.
The Washington Post reports that Sealy also callously shouted “womp womp” as an Episcopalian priest delivered a prayer.
The Post notes:
“Holy and ever-loving God . . .” said the priest, Kerry Holder-Joffrion.
“We pray for the children of this nation and all nations . . .”
The taunt was seemingly an homage to former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who made the same flippant sound as former senior Democratic National Committee adviser Zac Petkanas shared a story about “a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome” who had been “taken from her mother and put in a cage.”
“Womp womp,” Lewandowski said, enraging Petkanas and many others around the nation.
Holder-Joffrion attempted to continue her prayer, only to be met with more taunts.
The Post notes that this was not Sealy’s only crass interruption of the protest as he held up a sign that read “ICE ICE Baby” and occasionally shouted out some of the lyrics to the famous song.
As his interruptions continued, protesters started to confront him.
Nonetheless, Holder-Joffrion decided to continue her prayer.
“We ask that you give us the strength in the face of the opposition not to hate, but to love,” Holder-Joffrion said, saying that those lines came to her at the moment. “Prayer is stronger than hatred!”
That’s when Sealy reportedly got into an altercation with a protestor and then the gun came out.
“Gun, gun, gun, gun,” someone shouted as people dropped to the ground.
One man could be seen on video standing up, pointing at Sealy, shouting “gun!” He and a few others followed Sealy as he walked away from the protesters, still shouting, drawing the attention of police.
“At first, he was just heckling, he had a sign, you know, ‘deport everyone.’ It wasn’t an emergency at that point. But when he pulled out the gun things escalated really quickly,” Heather Resendez, co-organizer of the event, told WBTV.
“Somebody yelled ‘Gun!’ I saw the gun, him holding the gun. I started screaming for people to get down,” Ava Caldwell, another co-organizer of the event, added.
“I got down on my face on the other side of the gazebo right here and just cried, I was so in shock,” said Caldwell.
Despite the brandishing of a gun, which left many attendees shaken, the rally continued.
“We weren’t going to let something like that deter us,” Yalitza LaFontaine of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice told the news station.
“We have to put our bodies on the line, my job as someone with privilege I have to get and get this message. Because this is real,” Resendez added.