(WHTM) – According to Pennsylvania Capital Police, Richard Kevin Blandy, 56, of South Lebanon Township was apprehended and charged for criminal actions committed at the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol following a rally on Friday, October 13.
Blandy allegedly approached a group of organizers around 6:24 p.m. on Friday while in his vehicle and allegedly yelled racial slurs. Police say Blandy also allegedly pointed a firearm at the group.
“It’s devastating, right,” Omar Mussa, who helped organize the rally, said. “When you gather in any place, the last thing that you want is to have the ability to be threatened or your life be threatened.”
Mussa described people running and trying to get to safety.
Blandy fled in his vehicle while police attempted to pursue him on foot, and police say that he allegedly committed several traffic violations while fleeing.
Police obtained video and talked with eyewitnesses about the incident and found Blandy’s vehicle’s registration plate number which led them to his address.
The information obtained helped the South Lebanon Township Police in apprehending Blandy and recovering the firearm around 7:30 p.m.
“Using information provided by eyewitnesses and a video of the crime, we were able to get the investigation immediately underway and have the suspect in custody within an hour of the crime taking place,” Jacob said. “I also want to give special thanks to the Pennsylvania State Police and South Lebanon Township Police Department for working with us to take the suspect into custody without incident.”
Mussa said this is bigger than just one incident.
“We’re seeing hate crimes increase here in Harrisburg,” he said. “Our Harrisburg family, and my personal family was threatened at gunpoint.”
Mussa said the Palestinian community’s voice is being ignored, including renewed calls to help civilians in Gaza suffering because of the war between Israel and Hamas.
“Take away the siege that has prevented millions, 2.2 million people from access to basic human rights,” he said. “Stop the bombardment of Gaza and protect the people.”
Mussa also said Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims have been demonized by politicians and the media, which can fuel more violence against these groups.
“We want elected officials to be fair, we want to condemn killing regardless of the color of the person that’s killed,” he said.
Mussa added the Palestinian community needs everyone to speak up to stop the cycle of violence.
“This is a call to action to all of our neighbors,” he said. “Call your brothers and sisters in this community and help us out during these trying times.”
Blandy is being charged with ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats, simple assault by physical menace, and various traffic violations. abc27 reached out to his attorney for comment but did not receive a response.