Army vet sentenced for shooting black teen at Trump rally

An Army veteran who shot into a car full of black girls following a gathering of supporters of then-President Trump in Iowa has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Michael McKinney, 26, of St. Charles, pleaded guilty in June to intimidation with a dangerous weapon and willful injury in the Dec. 6 confrontation between a 15-year-old black girl who traded insults with the Trump supporters near the state Capitol, the Des Moines Register reported.

McKinney, who was initially charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty to the lesser offenses in the shooting that occurred following a rally organized by Trump backers who believed he won November’s election.

Prosecutors said McKinney fired into a car carrying four black teen girls, striking one in the leg, after their car backed up and hit a truck as it was surrounded by Trump supporters.

Supporters gathering at a March for Trump event to protest the results of the presidential election in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 6, 2020.
Supporters gathering at a March for Trump event to protest the results of the presidential election in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 6, 2020.
Olivia Sun/The Des Moines Register via AP

McKinney, who was wearing body armor and had several guns, later told police he opened fire because he “felt he was in danger and was protecting himself,” a search warrant shows.

The teen victim, who was shot as she was standing in the car’s open sunroof, said in a statement read in court Monday that she thought she was going to die.

“I didn’t know if I would be able to walk again,” she wrote. “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.”

McKinney was taken into custody at the scene and has been jailed since his arrest. He apologized to the girl in court while saying his showed “poor judgment” during the confrontation.

“I want to truly and deeply express how sorry I am,” McKinney said Monday.

A judge reportedly considered McKinney’s lack of a prior criminal history and his honorable discharge from the military during sentencing.

Judge Scott Beattie then ordered the vet to serve up to 10 years on concurrent sentences — or half of the total 20-year max sought by prosecutors who wanted the terms to be served consecutively, the Des Moines Register reported.

There is no mandatory minimum sentence McKinney must serve before he’s eligible for parole, according to the newspaper.

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