Who is Michael McKinney? Army veteran sentenced for shooting Black girl at Trump rally in Iowa
Army veteran Michael McKinney left the Iowa National Guard in 2017 after a five-year military career
POLK COUNTY, IOWA: A man was sentenced on Monday, August 9, to up to 10 years in jail for firing into a car full of Black teenage girls, injuring one of them, after an Iowa rally for then-President Donald Trump near the state Capitol, news outlets reported on Tuesday, August 10. Women for America First, a pro-Trump group, staged the rally, just before the rally they hosted on January 6 that led to the Capitol insurgency.
In other news of Trump supporter arrests, Florida man Paul Hodgkins was sentenced to eight months in prison followed by 24 months of supervised release on Monday, July 19, in the first felony sentencing in connection with the Capitol riots. The Munns, a Texas family of five, were recently arrested for the same after a friend turned them in.
The shooting, for which one Michael McKinney was charged on Monday, took place in the parking lot of a state office building east of the Iowa Capitol on December 6. It came after a demonstration organized by the pro-Trump group Women for America First on the city's south side for supporters who believed Trump had won the election legitimately in November.
Who is Michael McKinney?
Michael McKinney is a resident of St Charles, Iowa. He is an Army veteran who left the Iowa National Guard in 2017 after a five-year military career, the Associated Press reported. He was sentenced on Monday for a shooting that took place after a rally in Des Moines on December 6, KHQA reported.
According to authorities, the girl was in a car with a group of teens who were hurling insults at rally attendees, who were largely white. After the teenagers' automobile backed up and collided with a rally supporter's pickup truck, McKinney opened fire. He shot into the car while wearing body armor and carrying several firearms, injuring the then-15-year-old girl in the leg. According to court papers, he later claimed to officers that he felt he was in danger and was defending himself.
In June, McKinney pled guilty to deliberate harm and intimidation with a dangerous weapon. McKinney has been in custody since his arrest and has apologized to the girl, and admitted his poor judgment that day. "I used poor judgment on this matter," he said. "I want to truly and deeply express how sorry I am."
The judge, citing McKinney's lack of criminal history and good military discharge, imposed two concurrent terms of up to ten years, with no mandatory minimum to serve before he is eligible for parole. "I will be quite honest: I’m still perplexed as to how this happened," Judge Scott Beattie said. "I understand you’ve taken responsibility for it, and that’s an important factor."
According to The Des Moines Register, the girl stated in a statement read to the court Monday that she feared she was going to die that day and didn't know if she would be able to walk again. "I believed I was going to die the day I was shot. I didn’t know if I would be able to walk again," she wrote, according to USA Today, adding later "I’m a 16-year-old young lady and would love to love myself, but it’s hard when I look at my scars and remember the events of Dec. 6, 2020."
"Had she been seated, rather than standing, she could have been 16 and forever remained 16, had she been struck," prosecutor Olu Salami said, adding that the girl was standing in the car's open sunroof when she was struck.
Authorities minimized the shooting's political and racial background, claiming it was the result of a traffic argument. According to Army Times, Trump supporters blasted the police for charging McKinney, claiming that his gunfire saved rallygoers by scaring the car away and that McKinney frequently attended pro-police "Back the Blue" rallies.