REIDSVILLE — A local man arrested for concealing a weapon at a peaceful protest last week, says he pulled his hand gun to protect another protester when two men, one of whom was armed, identified themselves as Ku Klux Klan members and nearly jumped a black man.
Alex Walker, who is white and participated in the protest near the Family Fare on Scales Street and Richardson Drive on Monday evening, said he was standing in front of the gas station away from protesters and talking to friends when two white men entered the gas station.
When the pair exited, Walker observed a squabble between the men and another protester, a black man in his mid-20s with a skateboard.
“He looked my age or younger, and the two guys tried to jump on him. They pulled a gun on him,” Walker said.
“I walked over and said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa – this don’t need to happen.' That’s when they came aggravated towards me because one of the guys I was standing with was actually pulling the skateboarder away from the altercation. That’s when one of the guys (claiming to be in the KKK) smacked my hands down and that’s when I drew my gun.”
Walker said that when he pulled his pistol, one of the men went back to a truck while the other “stood there and kept on like he was going to keep going with the situation.”
Once Walker pulled his weapon, both men left the station in their truck before police arrived, Walker said.
Since the incident, several individuals who attended the protest have confirmed Walker’s account of events on social media.
“ … They (the alleged KKK members) created violence that would have never been there without them people doing what they did … ” said Walker, who insisted he never intended to shoot anyone, only to defend the young black man.
“They made me lose a very good job that I have been to college for and worked so hard to have a good job,'' Walker said. "I haven’t lost it yet but thanks to them, not just seeing the news side of the story, from them actually just overlooking that -- I might be able to get my job back. But I'm out of work now with no pay. Thank god I got my own business and have money coming in.”
Local protest organizer Shawn Norman of Reidsville said all of the protesters in his group believe Walker’s actions may have potentially saved lives.
“Protesters are behind him a million percent and some of them are going to come to the police department (Saturday) before our protest and talk to the police and tell them: ‘This is exactly why we protest – police injustice. It was Superman who came through, beat up all the villains, and he had a pistol on him -- you all are going to charge him? What? He just helped us. C'mon, it's not right.' ''
On Monday, protesters peacefully demonstrated throughout the evening with support from hundreds of residents and passersby who honked their horns in solidarity.
Protesters also appeared undeterred by intimidation tactics by several white men in diesel trucks who stopped their vehicles near the protest site, then slammed their accelerators to throw dark smoke clouds in protesters' faces.
Norman and Walker said that those same drivers aimed profanities and lewd hand gestures at protesters.
Norman will lead a Black Lives Matter protest tomorrow at the traffic circle in downtown Reidsville.
The rally will take place between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.
“We started peacefully and we’re going to end peacefully,” Norman said in a news release.