The man who incited a riot at Donald Trump's rally in Reno on Nov. 5 has come forward to clear his name after reports alleged he was holding a gun during the event. Austyn Crites, a registered Republican, says he was only carrying a sign to show his distaste for the Republican candidate at the time he was tackled to the ground.
"I just went with sign that said 'Republicans Against Trump,’" Crites told USA Today. "It’s a sign that you can find online. I held up the sign and initially people around me were just booing me telling me to get out of there. Then a couple of these guys tried grabbing the sign out of my hands."
Crites was reportedly tackled by secret service after someone in the crowd yelled "gun," according to reports.
"Multiple people just tackled me down, kicking me, choking me, and just beating me up," Crites continued. "That’s when things even got crazier. I was on the ground and people were holding my arms, legs and I kept saying I can barely breathe. I was turning my neck just to get a little bit of air to keep from passing out."
As Trump was promptly rushed off stage, agents also escorted Crites, who was towards the front of the stage, out of the convention center.
Although authorities haven't reported that they recovered a weapon of any sort on Crites, people in the audience still insist that he was the "aggressor" in the incident. Michael Newton, a bystander who helped the secret service restrain Crites, said he witnessed his hand "contact someone’s face, maybe two people."
Despite his harsh treatment, Crites said he has no ill feelings toward Trump or any of the voters at the rally. "I love all the people in that rally," he said. "We’re all fellow Americans. They’re doing their patriotic duty. They support their candidate. I’m just there showing that I’m a Republican... I just have a slight difference of opinion."
Crites later stated that he has no connection with the Clinton campaign, although he will be casting his vote in favor of the Democrat this election.