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Two teens arrested after assault at Republican rally in Palm Springs

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Pro-Trump/Recall Newsom Rally in Palm Springs (Oct. 18, 2019)

Police arrested two teenagers Monday after they allegedly assaulted peaceful demonstrators at a weekend rally in Palm Springs.

The attack occurred while demonstrators stood along at Gene Autry Trail near Ramon Road gathering signatures as part of an effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Supporters said the rallies have been happening each week throughout the Coachella Valley, and while they're usually peaceful, Sunday's ended in a bloody mess for one man.

Teens used an airsoft pistol to hit a rally attendee in the head, police said.

"I observed two juveniles cross three lanes of traffic to the opposite side of the street and attack 3 to 4 of our individuals that were basically holding Trump flags and police flags," said Jerry Mikkelsen, a rally attendee.

Mikkelsen watched from across the street as the two teens, 14 and 15 years old, assaulted a man.

"There was some kind of a tumble; they fell to the curb," he said. "He pulled out what appeared to gun – it was later learned to be a BB gun."

Police said one of the teens used that airsoft pistol to pistol-whip a demonstrator in the back of the head.

"He pulled it out to strike him several times, causing quite a bit of blood in the rear of the head and the front of the face," Mikkelsen said. "If that gun was real, it could have gone the other way real quickly."

Police arrived at the scene and detained both teens. Officers said the 15-year-old was also found to be in possession of a 30-round high capacity Glock 9mm magazine of bullets.

The 15-year-old was released to his parents at the scene but the teen is expected to be charged with possession of a high capacity magazine, according to Palm Springs Police.

The 14-year-old was booked into Juvenile Hall in Indio on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury.

Mikkelsen stopped short of calling it a politically motivated attack but said it could have been caused by the divisiveness of the current times. "I never saw this divide in this country till four years ago. It never seemed to happen before that," he said.

He said the group has at least two more rallies planned for this month – and urges people to try to come together: "That we all understand and try and get along and do what's best for this country," he said.

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.

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