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Man planning to kill Donald Trump had ticket for Phoenix event

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, June 18, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — A man who allegedly told authorities he planned to steal an officer’s gun and shoot Donald Trump at a Las Vegas rally also had a ticket for Trump’s event in Phoenix.

Authorities said Michael Steven Sandford went to a Trump rally on Saturday at the Treasure Island Casino and approached a Las Vegas police officer to say he wanted an autograph from Trump. The report said Sandford was arrested after grabbing the handle of an officer’s gun in an attempt to remove it.

Sandford told officers he had been planning an assassination for about a year and was convinced he would die in the attempt. He said he also reserved a ticket for a Trump rally in Phoenix, scheduled for later in the day, as a backup.

He told authorities that he went to the Battlefield Vegas shooting range the day before the rally and fired 20 rounds from a 9mm Glock pistol to learn how to use it. Police detectives who visited the range spoke with an employee who confirmed that he provided Sandford shooting lessons, according to the complaint.

About 1,500 people attended the Las Vegas rally, which was held in the Mystere Theater inside the casino. Attendees had to pass through metal detectors manned by Secret Service, police and casino security officials.

Sandford was charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds on Monday in a U.S. District Court in Nevada.

Sanford had a United Kingdom driver’s license with him at the time, according to the complaint signed by Secret Service Special Agent Joseph Hall.

Agents said Sandford told them he had been in the U.S. for about a year and a half, lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, and drove to the San Bernardino, California, area before coming to Las Vegas on June 16.

It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney. Las Vegas police said Sandford is 19.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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