Md. man accused of firing gun into a crowd at Charlottesville rally a member of the KKK

Richard Preston was arrested on Saturday
Posted at 6:19 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 21:38:02-04

The leader of a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan is being extradited to Virginia after he was arrested in Baltimore on Saturday.

Authorities believe he’s the man responsible for shooting a gun into a crowd of people during protests and rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Richard Preston could be in jail as early as Tuesday after waiving his extradition during a video conference on Monday.

Video shows who’s believed to be Preston shouting racial slurs and then firing a shot into a group of people.

Police say Preston is charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school.

RELATED: Md. man from Charlottesville rally is former employee at Bryn Mawr school

After speaking with his neighbors in Rosedale, residents there say police surrounded Preston’s home on Saturday.

Some people said he had Confederate flags in his windows until right after the Charlottesville protest when he took them down.

Preston is the leader of a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, the group has a headquarters in Rosedale.

Preston also worked at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore from 1996 to 2001.

While acknowledging the gap in time from when Preston was employed, the school still sent a statement:
Dear Bryn Mawr Community,

With the start of school just a few days away, we hoped that our next communication to you would be a celebratory one. However, we've learned today the disturbing news that a former Bryn Mawr maintenance worker, Richard Preston, who was employed from 1996-2001, has been criminally charged with discharging a firearm into the crowd during the protest in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12.  Additionally, we have become aware of media reports that Mr. Preston is allegedly associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

Though his employment was in the distant past, we are deeply disturbed by Mr. Preston's alleged actions and associations. Hatred and racism are completely antithetical to our values. We stand united against bigotry, prejudice and violence of any kind. We are ready to respond with support or counseling for any community members who are adversely affected by this news. Additionally, we will continue a dialogue with employees, parents, students and the extended Bryn Mawr community around current events and issues of injustice. We ask parents to consider age-appropriateness in sharing this information with your children. If anyone has questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Please be assured that in making hiring decisions, The Bryn Mawr School follows all state mandated protocols, requiring fingerprinting and a criminal background check of state and FBI databases for all employees. This vetting process was in place at the time of Mr. Preston's hire and continues today. The School continually adopts best practices in this field to ensure the safety of our students, which is paramount.

Our hearts go out to the victims of the Charlottesville tragedy. As a school and as a country, we have important and challenging work to do to ensure that equity and justice apply equally to all people. These are the values for which Bryn Mawr stands.

Preston is one of four people that have been arrested for their roles during the protests in Charlottesville.

Police are still asking for information that can help in their investigation.