Man 'mistakenly shoots himself' while attempting counter-protest at anti-fascism rally

Benjamin Hornberger accidentally shot himself when he knocked the trigger of his old-fashioned revolver when he temporarily rested the bottom of his flag pole against the holster, reports say

Caroline Mortimer
Monday 03 July 2017 12:30 BST
'Patriot' protesters at the Gettysburg National Cemetery during commemorations of the Battle of Gettysburg
'Patriot' protesters at the Gettysburg National Cemetery during commemorations of the Battle of Gettysburg (Getty Images)

A self-styled American “patriot” accidentally shot himself in the leg during an attempted counter-protest against a rumoured anti-fascism rally, reports say.

Benjamin Hornberger apparently knocked the trigger of his gun without meaning to during a rally at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania while attending a “patriot” counter-rally on Saturday following rumours of a demonstration by a far-left “antifada” group at the site.

The 23-year-old set his old-fashioned revolver off when he temporarily rested the bottom of his flagpole against the holster, according to witnesses.

Park police were nearby and were apply to apply a tourniquet to the wound. He was said to be talking to paramedics and was in good spirits as he was loaded into the ambulance to be taken to a local hospital.

US Park Police spokeswoman Sgt Anna Rose told Raw Story that “it looks like he’ll be OK”.

Officers said the gun was “bad” and fired for a second time while they were attempting to get the rounds out of the chamber.

The bullet hit the ground and no one was harmed in the second shooting.

Dozens of self-described patriots wearing camouflage had said they had arrived at the park at 12pm because they had heard rumours that antifada protesters were planning to protest and desecrate war memorials on the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The protesters told PennLive that the man had come along to support their cause but was not a member of any particular group.

A handful of members from the Real 3% Risen group sat in one of the fenced-off areas of the park holding Confederacy flag hats and T-shirts while dozens of unaffiliated men in camouflage outfits were milling around the park holding long rifles, handguns and large American flags.

The Gettysburg site is extremely historically significant to Americans as it is regarded as one of the most decisive fights between Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War.

Unionist forces defeated General Robert E Lee’s forces and ended their assault on the North in the battle between 1 and 3 July 1863.

President Abraham Lincoln then rededicated the site to honour fallen Union soldiers and delivered the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches in US history.

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