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June 13, 2024

Armed man detained outside RFK Jr. event in Los Angeles

Armed man detained outside RFK Jr. event in Los Angeles

A man with a loaded gun was arrested outside a campaign event for Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in a neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Adrian Aispuro, 44, was taken into custody and charged with a felony after impersonating a U.S. Marshal, the LAPD said in a report obtained by NBC News. 

Authorities said Aispuro was arrested after a call came in around 4:30 p.m. local time, describing him as having a firearm holstered and U.S. Marshal identification. 

In a post to X, the social media platform formally known as Twitter, Kennedy, who was delivering a speech for National Hispanic Heritage Month at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in the Wilshire neighborhood, said that he was grateful to Gavin de Becker and Associates, a private security firm, for spotting and detaining “an armed man who attempted to approach me.”

Asked if the man entered the theater, the LAPD told NBC News that Aispuro was outside of the venue, then was taken into custody, and at no time did he brandish a gun or threaten anyone.

Kennedy had submitted a formal request for Secret Service protection by the Department of Homeland Security in July but that request was denied, according to his campaign.

“Based on the facts and the recommendations of the advisory committee, I have determined that Secret Service protection for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not warranted at this time,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ office said at the time.

Kennedy’s father, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated two miles east of where Friday’s incident occurred while running for president in 1968, and his uncle John F. Kennedy was killed while serving as the 35th president in 1963. 

The Kennedy campaign said in a statement on Saturday that it had requested Secret Service protection again in August, but that request was also denied. The campaign intends to apply a third time this month.

The Secret Service’s guidance for the 2024 election states that “major presidential and vice presidential candidates” are “eligible” for protection, but “protection under these guidelines should only be granted within one year prior to the general election. Protection more than one year prior to the general election should only be granted in extraordinary, case-by-case circumstances in consultation with the committee, based on threat assessment and other factors.”

The Kennedy campaign, in a statement on Saturday, said a second man came to the event with Aispuro. But LAPD said they have no record of an alleged second individual involved.

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy weighed in on the incident in a post to X, writing: “Glad you’re doing ok my friend.”

Katherine Koretski

Katherine Koretski is a 2024 NBC News campaign embed.

Lindsey Pipia

Lindsey Pipia is an Associate Producer for the 2024 Political Desk.

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