Trump Rally Attendee Confirms Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Candidate Dave McCormick ‘Definitely in the Line of Fire’ During Assassination Attempt

Brady Knox at the Donald Trump rally on July 13, 2024

An attendee who witnessed the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump at his Saturday campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania told The Pennsylvania Daily Star that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick was “definitely in the line of fire” as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks opened fire before being killed by Secret Service.

Brady Knox (pictured above, left) told The Star he was seated in the second row, “about as close as you could possibly get” to the former president at just 15 feet away, when Trump’s supporters in the front rows began to take cover after the former president reached for his ear and ducked below the podium.

Knox also told The Star that McCormick, who confirmed on Saturday that he was seated near Trump and preparing to take the stage when gunfire erupted, was “definitely in the line of fire.”

He explained that McCormick was seated with easy access to the stage, where “he was like in one of the first rows… the bullets would have passed over his head.”

In posts to social media, McCormick has praised former Butler County fire chief Corey Comperatore, a father who was killed by Crooks as he protected his family during the assassination attempt.

“We will never forget Corey’s brave actions protecting his family,” McCormick wrote. “He was a husband, father, former fire chief, and an incredible Pennsylvanian.”

After the shooting, Trump confirmed one bullet pierced his right ear, but on Sunday nonetheless arrived in Wisconsin to accept the Republican presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention later this week.

Knox told The Star he was born and raised in Butler, where he was home visiting family, but now lives in Virginia and works as a reporter for The Washington Examiner.

Having attended the rally with his mother, Knox explained he pulled her to the floor when he realized the popping sounds heard by the crowd were not fireworks meant to “troll the president,” but bullets.

He added that rally attendees around him remained on the ground for about 10 seconds after the shooting began.

“That’s when we saw Trump get up,” said Knox. “When he raised his fist, by that time everyone was looking back up and that was when everyone went ballistic.”

Knox captured video of the incident and posted it to the social media platform X, where he wrote that his video began “20-30 seconds after the shooting” occurred.

Prior to Trump’s fist pumping, Knox told The Star the incident immediately provoked thoughts of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that claimed the lives of 60 and became the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.

“I was thinking that this was like the Las Vegas shooting, right? You know, he’s just going to start spraying the crowd and I’m so close to the podium,” said Knox.

He told The Star, “that was probably the only time in my life where even just briefly, I actually feared for my life. I was like, Oh my gosh, this guy might start shooting into the crowd.”

Knox explained that his feeling of uncertainty over the shooting resolved after Trump’s fist pump.

“I would say that kind of terror was like 20 seconds. Honestly, it was probably when Trump raised his fist.” He confirmed, “That was when feelings kind of dissipated. This was kind of the signal that the shooting was over.”

Asked how many rally attendees could see Trump’s fist pump, Knox speculated, “I would say essentially everyone saw the fist pump.”

With the crowd reassured of Trump’s condition, Knox told The Star that Secret Service asked those in the front rows to remain concealed until the former president was ushered away from the stage.

Minutes later, Knox said the Trump supporters gathered for the rally began an evacuation process he described as “remarkably orderly.”

Photos captured by Knox at the rally include another perspective of Trump, with blood on his face, raising his fist to the crowd.

Knox told The Star he was impressed by the Secret Service presence at the rally prior to the shooting, explaining, “I felt very safe and protected.”

Pundits and experts, however, have called for resignations at the federal agency in the wake of the attempted assassination.

Before the end of the day on Saturday, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X, former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, and free speech activist and writer Michael Shellenberger all made public calls for resignations.

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Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Tennessee Star, and also reports for The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].

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