CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Police in South Carolina spotted a truck surrounded by protesters over the weekend and discovered two men inside with loaded handguns, a rifle, a wooden club, knives and a stun gun, among other weapons.
Charleston police intervened when they saw a group of protesters leave the main crowd and surround a Chevrolet Silverado sitting in a parking lot Sunday night, the agency said in a statement.
Police broke up the crowd and noticed an AR-15 lying on the back seat of the truck. The passenger, Richard Ray, 59, told an officer there were more guns in the car, and the driver, Matthew Constantine, 46, was found to have a concealed handgun, the statement said.
Police seized four guns. Officers also discovered binoculars, a tactical vest, five magazines of ammunition, two knives, a glass pipe and a baton, in addition to the firearms and other weapons, according to officials.
Ray and Constantine did not have concealed carry permits, and the men were charged with misdemeanor unlawful carrying of a handgun, the department said. It was not clear whether they had attorneys who could comment for them.
A police spokeswoman told the Post and Courier that investigators did not know why the men had the weapons or why they were near the protest and engaging with the demonstrators.
Protesters have taken to the streets across the country for nearly a week to voice opposition to a Kentucky grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers on criminal charges directly related to the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was killed during a police raid gone wrong.