NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Emmanuel Quinones, 25, was sentenced to three years for brandishing an assault rifle at a Black Lives Matter protest in Lubbock.
Quinones was charged via criminal complaint in early June and indicted a week later. He pleaded guilty to interstate threatening communications in September and was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix.READ MORE: 'I'm Afraid We're Going To See A Surge Of Violence' Says Texas Criminologist Following Recent Mass Shootings
“The Department of Justice stands firmly against anyone and everyone who seeks to instill terror and encourage violence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “This sentence sends a clear message that our office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to apprehend and charge all violent instigators, while protecting those who want to lawfully exercise their constitutional rights.”
According to plea papers, Quinones admitted he brought a loaded Smith & Wesson .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle to a protest decrying the death of George Floyd. He also admitted that, prior to the protest, he posted threatening messages online. For example, in a May 28 Facebook post, he intimated that he planned to obtain gun parts “to off racists and MAGA people.”
In view of the protesters, Quinones held the rifle at “low ready,” in firing position with the muzzle pointed toward the ground, as panic rippled through the assembled crowd. (Although Texas is an open-carry state, the Texas Penal Code makes it illegal to display a firearm in a public place “in a manner calculated to alarm.”) He refused a Lubbock police officer’s verbal commands to drop the rifle, and only did so when the officer drew his gun and a protestor moved to tackle him. As he was taken into custody, Quinones allegedly shouted “this is a revolution” and “President Trump must die.”READ MORE: Texas Grand Jury To Consider Charges In Shooting Death Of Protester Garrett Foster Last Summer
“Together, our local, state, and federal partners work to protect those participating in legitimate, peaceful protests,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “The intimidating and violent behavior exhibited by Mr. Quinones while individuals exercised their First Amendment rights has been swiftly answered with today’s sentence.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Dallas Field Office, Lubbock Resident Agency, the United States Secret Service, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives Dallas Field Division, and the Lubbock Police Department conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Haag is prosecuting the case.MORE NEWS: As Pandemic Restrictions Ease, Child Abuse Reports Rise In North Texas