The Party for Socialism and Liberation Carolinas announced in a statement on Instagram Thursday that a student threatened attendees with an act of gun violence at an anti-racist event they held Monday in Russell House.
“He stood up at the front of the room and and said ‘I only count about 13 of you in this room, but then I remember that 25 rounds can fit in the magazine of my AR-15, and I’m not so worried anymore.’” the statement said.
The student said that his words have been misconstrued.
“I said, 'AR-15, there are only 13 of you. There would have to be 30 to make a difference.' I was referring to a difference on campus, but I think they interpreted it as a threat," the student said.
He also said that neither he nor any member of his family owns an AR-15.
“I don't want to be demonized on campus. I don't mean any harm to anybody. I don't want to hurt anybody in the PSL. I don't want to hurt anybody of any creed or race or anything like that. I'm not right-wing. I don't have affiliations to any right-wing group,” the student said. “I know jokes can be misconstrued. I didn't mean to make anybody feel threatened, I didn't mean to make anybody feel belittled or traumatized. I just wanted to get my opinions out there for people who I thought would engage me in some healthy back and forth.”
After the student made the statement, an event attendee tried to physically restrain him until the police could arrive, but the student ran away. USCPD apprehended and handcuffed him outside of the Bull Street garage. He was not charged with a crime.
“I stood up and the friend that I brought stood up and confronted him, attempted to detain him, and we were successful for a minute or two, and then he took his shirt off and ran down the hallway,” Sean Travis, who attended the meeting, said.
Fellow attendee Tiffany Namey said herself and another witness were distressed by the situation.
"I'm screaming, 'I want my husband, I want my husband, I want my husband,' and I look over, and she is hysterically crying to the point where she couldn't breathe," Namey said.`
The university incident report said that the student told USCPD that he mentioned an AR-15 and a 30-round magazine but as a joke to his friend. University spokesperson Jeff Stensland said the university took immediate action after the incident and initiated a threat assessment.
“The student’s campus access has been restricted while facts are being gathered and he will have an administrative conference with student conduct to determine if additional action is warranted,” Stensland said.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation, which is not a registered student organization, announced a protest "to reject fascism" on April 12 at 4:30 p.m. on Greene Street in front of Russell House in response to the threat.
“I think the main thing is that we are not intimidated and that we're going to be fighting back," John Prysner, a member of the organization, said. "And right now, the main thing that I'm concerned about is building the movement against fascism and against racism and bigotry."
Editor's note: The Daily Gamecock has chosen to keep the identity of the student anonymous due to safety concerns amid the ongoing investigation.