Agay Donald Trump supporter has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with an incident that occurred outside Jones Hall following comedian Kathy Griffin’s Houston performance on Aug. 20, according to Harris County court records.
Carlos “Carl” Pacheco, 34, is accused of brandishing a pocket knife and stabbing the window of a vehicle occupied by patrons who were leaving the show, in an incident captured on dash cam and cell phone video.
A spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Department said Pacheco was arrested on Sept. 27 and released on Sept. 28 after posting a $15,000 bond. If convicted of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, Pacheco faces up to 20 years in prison.
The victim, Michele Nunez, told OutSmart she is relieved that charges have been filed against Pacheco.
“My biggest fear is that if I hadn’t said anything, that a Pulse shooting was going to happen here,” Nunez said of her decision to pursue the matter, referring to the mass showing that left 49 people dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016.
“I just think he was there to hurt Kathy [Griffin]. I have no proof, but that’s what I think,” Nunez said. “If he could pull a knife on me, what else is he capable of? He seems very dangerous.”
Griffin, of course, has been a harsh critic of the president, and famously posed with a Halloween mask depicting Trump’s decapitated head.
Pacheco’s attorney, Michael Mercer, said he was surprised by the charges against his client.
“Obviously, we’ve entered a plea of not guilty, and we intend on fighting the case,” Mercer said. “Carlos is not a violent person, from what I’ve been able to glean. They’re accusing him of putting someone in danger of losing their life. I don’t think Carlos is capable of doing that.”
According to an arrest affidavit filed September 24 in Harris County district court, Nunez was leaving the auditorium with her husband and their friends when they noticed Pacheco near the exit wearing a shirt bearing images of Trump, as well as a “Make America Great Again” hat.
“Look at this guy, what is he wearing? Is that for real?” one of Nunez’s friends said.
Pacheco responded by saying, “I don’t want a political debate” as he made his way toward the stage, according to Michele Nunez.
Nunez and her friends then waited outside Jones Hall while her husband, Richard Nunez, retrieved their vehicle from a parking garage.
After Richard Nunez pulled up to the curb, Michele Nunez was getting into the front passenger seat of the vehicle when she saw Pacheco again and yelled, “Hey asshole, fuck Trump!”
Pacheco responded by saying, “Fuck you, fucking cunt.” Pacheco then kicked the passenger door of the vehicle, before brandishing the pocket knife and stabbing at the window, striking the glass as Nunez closed it.
After the Nunezes posted video of the incident on social media, they were able to obtain Pacheco’s identity from people who commented and recognized the suspect, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Anonymous tipsters provided Defendant Pacheco’s name, Facebook and Grindr profiles,” the arrest warrant states.
Following the incident, Pacheco told OutSmart he thought it was interesting that “white middle-aged people” were being presented as the victims, while he was being “demonized” and portrayed as “a neo-Nazi.” Pacecho said he is a gay Latino immigrant.
“I am cooperating with the police investigation,” Pacheco said at the time. “I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong based on the laws and the circumstances of what happened.”
Pacheco could not immediately be reached for further comment.