Gregory William Loel Timm is a 27-year-old Florida man who police say intentionally drove his van into a pro-Trump Republican voter registration drive tent at a Jacksonville Walmart on Saturday, February 8, 2020. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says Timm was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license. No one was injured, but police said several of the GOP volunteers at the event were shaken up by the incident.
“On Saturday, February 8, 2020, a dispute was reported in the area of 11900 Atlantic Boulevard,” the sheriff’s office said early Sunday in a press release. “Officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded and determined that an aggravated assault had occurred. The victims reported that the suspect drove a van through the tent where they were working to register voters. The suspect was subsequently identified and arrested.”
According to the release, he is facing two counts of aggravated assault on a person 65 years or older. The sheriff’s office said Timm’s motive remain under investigation. The sheriff’s office said on Saturday it had not been determined that the incident was politically motivated. “We don’t know what the suspect’s motivation was, but we are just starting the investigation,” Lieutenant Larry Gayle told reporters at the scene on Saturday, The Florida Times-Union reports.
Here’s what you need to know about Gregory William Loel Timm:
1. Gregory Timm Drove Through the Republican Voter Registration Tent as Volunteers Scrambled to Safety & Then Took a Video of the Destruction Before ‘Flipping Off’ the GOP Supporters & Driving Off, Witnesses Say
The Duval GOP, which was organizing the pro-Trump voter registration drive in the Walmart parking lot on Saturday, tweeted, “At approximately 2:45 p.m. a multi-colored brown and gold van driven by what is described as a white male in his 20s or 30s, accelerated into a crowd of volunteers at the Kernan Village shopping center located at 11900 Atlantic Boulevard. Thankfully, Republican volunteers narrowly avoided being struck by the accelerating van. The driver sped away after making an obscene gesture toward the crowd.”
The suspect was later identified as Gregory William Loel Timm, the sheriff’s office said. According to the Florida Times-Union, about six Republican volunteers were at the tent went the incident occurred. Timm slammed his van into the tent, damaging the tent, tables and chairs and scattering pro-Trump signs. The volunteers were able to get out of the way as the van accelerated at the tent.
According to witnesses, Timm exited the van and took video of the scene, the newspaper reports. He then “flipped off” the volunteers before getting back into his van and leaving, according to the Times-Union. Police are investigating whether he posted the video online. “We’re obviously going to follow that up and we take that very seriously. … Anybody who interrupts a political process in this country needs to be taken very seriously,” Lieutenant Larry Gayle told the newspaper.
A volunteer told First Coast News, “I thought he was going to slow down, but he didn’t and he gunned his engine and headed straight.”
2. Timm Had Lived in Jacksonville for About 2 Years & Was Working With a Local Theatre Union Training to Be a Sound Engineer, According to First Coast News
According to First Coast News, court documents show that Greg Timm had lived in Jacksonville, Florida, for about two years. It is not clear why or when he moved there. The news station reports that Timm was training to be a sound engineer and was affiliated with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. He had recently joined the union.
Susan Phillips, president of I.A.T.S.E. Local 115, told First Coast News that Timm had used the name William when he started with the union. Phillips told the news station Timm was working for ASM Global, which was formerly known as SMG. Phillips told First Coast News they were “just horrified” to learn about Timm’s arrest and said he has been suspended from the union and will not be granted membership in the future.
“Saul Lucio, Business Agent for the Jacksonville branch of I.A.T.S.E. Local 115, said about 650 people are affiliated with their group. It is a referral service for employees and only about 100 or so people are members. Lucio said Timm isn’t a member of the group but was referred to work and became affiliated with them in March of 2019,” First Coast News wrote.
3. Gregory Timm Is Originally From Arizona
Gregory Timm is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, according to his Facebook profile. The page does not appear to have been updated in several years and it is not clear if Timm has other social media accounts that have not been located. The page does not provide much insight into Timm’s political views.
Timm studied at Boulder Creek High School and Paradise Valley Community College, according to his Facebook page. Timm wrote on the page about training with the Air Force and being involved with a local fire department and in the skydiving community. He also wrote about wanting to join the Navy. It is not clear if Timm ever actually worked for a fire department or served in the military.
He wrote on May 3, 2011, “SEAL’s want me!!!!! :D Now its whoever can get me the contract first! Pararescue or SEAL medic! … its just if its AF or Navy, but the way things are goin, it looks like im gonna do SEAL’s.” A day earlier, he wrote about the killing of Osama Bin Laden, “Remember how united we were after 9/11? Im feelin like that again, seeing all the ppl outside the whitehouse, n all the patriotism on FB. …. AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!”
On Facebook, Timm also said he spent time living in Anthem, Arizona, and at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.
4. President Trump Tweet About the Incident Before Timm’s Arrest & Said ‘Be Careful Tough Guys Who You Play With’
President Donald Trump weighed in on the incident on Twitter on Saturday before Greg Timm was arrested. Trump tweeted, “Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with!” Trump was responding to a tweet for Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who said, “These unprovoked, senseless attacks on
@realDonaldTrump’s supporters need to end. I want to echo the @DuvalGOP in saying: We will not be silenced by cowards, and these disgusting acts will only make us work harder to win November.”
After the incident, #TrumpSupportersAttacked was trending on Twitter.
Dean Black, the Duval GOP chairman, said in a statement, “We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers. The Republican Party of Duval County will not be intimidated by these cowards and we will not be silenced. I call on every Republican in our great city to stand up, get involved, and show these radicals that we will not be intimidated from exercising our Constitutional rights.”
The Duval Republican Party, which organized the event, added, “The Republican Party of Duval County plans to redouble its efforts to register voters and will continue its fight with renewed intensity to re-elect President Donald Trump.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, “Thanking God that no one was injured in today’s politically motivated attack against @DuvalGOP volunteers today.” Senator Rick Scott added, “This appears to be a politically-motivated attack on hard-working volunteers in Duval County. Thankful that no one was hurt. @DuvalGOP will not be silenced or intimidated. They will redouble their efforts to support strong Republicans in NE Florida and around the state!”
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted, “I just spoke to the local GOP chair. This is outrageous. The hate is toxic and dangerous. Thankfully no one was injured but certainly they are shaken after being targeted because they were registering voters. I’ve spoken to the Sheriff and of course his team is on top of this.”
The Duval County Democratic Party said on Twitter it “condemns this cowardly act of violence. No one’s life should be placed in danger for exercising their first amendment rights. As Democrats but more importantly residents of this great city of Jacksonville, we call on our fellow citizens to act with dignity, civility and respect for one another during this election cycle and beyond.” They added that they looked forward to the arrest of the perpetrator.
5. Gregory Timm Was Held on $500,000 Bond After Making His First Court Appearance on February 9
Gregory Timm made his first court appearance on Sunday, February 9 and was ordered held on $500,000 bail, according to First Coast News.
Timm faces two counts of aggravated assault on a person over the age of 65, which is a second-degree felony. If convicted, Timm could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on each count. On the first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief charge, which is for damage of more than $200 but less than $1,000, Timm faces up to a year in jail.
It is not clear if Timm has hired an attorney and he could not be reached for comment. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s website showed that Timm was still being held in custody on Sunday.
The jail website said Timm was charged at 10:48 p.m. on Saturday. Police have not said how they identified and tracked down Timm after he fled from the scene.