ORLANDO, Fla. - Four men tried to enter Monday night’s U.S. Senate debate, which was closed to the public, the University of Central Florida Police Department said Tuesday.
The men -- armed security guards -- were removed from the event, which went on as planned. They were working for third-party candidate Bruce Nathan, who was not invited to the debate and did not have a ticket, according to a news release from the UCF Police Department.
Police said Nathan wanted to cause a disturbance to gain attention. He forcibly tried to enter the facility as the debate was starting, so officers detained, searched and questioned him and his security guards, the release said.
Police de-escalated the situation and no one was hurt.
At first, officers believed the security guards weren’t allowed to be armed on a college campus. But the UCF Police Department admitted in the news release that the officers had been incorrect -- the guards were well within their rights to be armed.
“Despite the misinterpretation of the (Florida state) statute, police acted appropriately and lawfully, successfully de-escalating a heated incident and allowing the debate to move forward with no further issue,” UCF Police Department spokesperson Courtney Gilmartin said.
The debate was between Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy.
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