Armed Florida man charged with driving into George Floyd protesters

A Florida man was arrested after police said he steered his SUV into a crowd of George Floyd protesters in Gainesville and threatened them with a gun.

William John Connelly, 64, was charged with six counts of aggravated assault after his run-in with demonstrators around 2 p.m. Saturday and “refusing to alter his driving path,” Gainesville police said on Twitter.

Connelly was with his son and driving a Kia Soul on Main Street as a 1,000-person protest — over Floyd’s Minneapolis death — in Bo Diddley Plaza and Depot Park was breaking up, the Ocala Star-Banner reported.

Police allege Connelly then steered the vehicle around two cars and into the crowd, forcing demonstrators to jump to safety, the outlet said.

He allegedly reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a gun, threatening to shoot the protesters.

One woman told the Star-Banner that she heard the SUV’s engine rev and turned, only to see Connelly pointing the gun at her.

“Move out of the way or I’ll shoot you,” according to an arrest report reviewed by the outlet.

That’s when protesters began hitting his vehicle as he sped away.

“They did smash the windshield with some object, we’re not sure exactly what it was,” a police spokeswoman told WCJB-TV. “The driver then did flee northbound on Main Street. Our officers responded immediately and effected a traffic stop, where he was taken into custody.”

He was being held at the Alachua County Jail on $30,000 bail as of Sunday morning, the Ocala paper said.


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