The Gettysburg National Military Park was home to an unfortunate shooting accident on Saturday when a self-described "patriot" shot himself in the leg with a holstered revolver. For several days, social media rumors had been circulating that members of Antifa, an anti-fascist fringe group, would be coming to Gettysburg over 4th of July weekend to desecrate Confederate memorials and otherwise cause devastation and destruction at the iconic Civil War historical site as well as "crash" weekend celebrations.
In response to the rumors, many so-called patriots from an array of alt-right groups and militias headed to Gettysburg to "protect" Confederate memorials from the threat of alt-left destruction. Among those who showed up on Saturday was Benjamin Hornberger of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. As Fox News reports, when the self-avowed "patriot" reached Gettysburg, he ended up accidentally shooting himself in the leg causing a potentially life-threatening injury.
Fortunately for Hornberger, U.S. Park Police rapidly responded to the incident, applying a tourniquet to the man's injured leg until emergency medical crews arrived on scene. First responders to the Gettysburg shooting called the quick-thinking U.S. Park Police officer's emergency treatment of the 23-year-old patriot's injury a "likely lifesaving measure."
According to Gettysburg National Military Park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon, the injured patriot is now expected to "be okay."As PennLive reports, the gun belonging to the so-called Gettysburg patriot had the potential to do much more damage than it actually caused when the victim accidentally shot himself in the leg. Police who responded to the scene say that the shooting was triggered when the gun (held in a leg holster) was hit with the bottom of a flag pole Hornberger had been carrying. After the shooting, officers confiscated the revolver, and as they attempted to remove bullets from the weapon, it accidentally discharged again. Officers have described the revolver, apparently belonging to the injured patriot, as being "bad," and they were eventually able to remove all of the rounds and secure the weapon. The second accidental discharge took place at about 1:00 p.m. and multiple Gettysburg visitors were in the vicinity of the unexpected shot.
Other so-called patriots who showed up to protect Gettysburg National Military Park from an expected onslaught of Antifa protesters on Saturday said that the injured man was not part of any specific militia or "patriot group," but that he'd come to the park alone because he heard about impending alt-left protests. In all, dozens of self-described patriots showed up at Gettysburg at about noon on Saturday and demonstrated in an area away from the weekend's reenactments.Apparently, rumors that Antifa had plans to crash Saturday's festivities were just that - rumors. Nobody from the alt-left group showed up to cause a ruckus, and while only one patriot shot himself, the rest were left wandering around Gettysburg National Military Park, many armed with visible firearms against a threat that never materialized.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/AP Images]