Tense moments unfolded at a rally in support of President Donald Trump in Aliso Viejo Wednesday when opposing sides squared off in what appeared to be an armed confrontation that was captured on video.
Deputies were called to Aliso Creek Road and Pacific Park Drive around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Five separate 911 calls were placed, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.
The situation ended with a retired police officer pulling a gun on a counter-protester who had allegedly pulled a knife, sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Breckner said.
The counter-protester, identified by Breckner as 33-year-old Alvin Shaw, is accused of assaulting three women aged 55, 74 and 84.
Pro-Trump demonstrators were winding down after a two-hour event when Shaw “came out of nowhere, and we thought he was going to join our group,” witness Cynthia Cantrelle-Westman told KTLA.
“Instead he was pretty upset and he started using profanity from the minute he arrived,” she said. “He kept coming over to me and getting in my face, and all I could say was the F-word.”
Witnesses said he blew smoke in their faces, then punched several women.
Donna Snow, 84, says Shaw struck her in the face after he tried to put his cigar out on her Trump sign, and she asked him not to.
“He broke my earring off and just took up my whole face with his hand,” Snow said.
At some point, the Sheriff’s Department said Shaw also pulled a small pocket knife, which is when the retired police officer drew his gun on arrival, according to Breckner.
Breckner said the retired officer — who’s from an angency outside Orange County — wound up detaining Shaw.
A knife was later recovered from the bushes, where witnesses reported seeing it thrown, the sergeant said.
Shaw was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, elderly abuse and assault, and battery, Breckner said.
Inmate records show he was released Thursday after posting bail.