El Paso Police Release Armed Trump Supporter With Rambo-style Pickup Truck Who Sparked Fear at Migrant Center: 'I Was Eating Prickly Pears'

El Paso Police Department briefly detained and then released an armed 21-year-old man who caused concern at an organization that helps migrants when he showed up outside their premises in a pickup truck emblazoned with Trump and InfoWars propaganda.

The police department tweeted that no criminal offense had been committed by Thomas Bartram, who had traveled to El Paso from Houston to support President Donald Trump's visit to the city in the wake of the deadly Walmart mass shooting, a suspected act of domestic terror.

According to Dallas News, police spokesman Robert Gomez said that a "suspicious subject" was "detained and interviewed [then] released" because he was carrying his firearm legally.

Pictures of Bartram's truck show a mocked-up image of President Trump as Rambo holding a rocket launcher. There is also a poster for Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz and bumper stickers promoting the far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars, fronted by Alex Jones.

Casa Carmelita, the group that supports southern border migrants in need, posted to its Facebook page on Thursday that a "white supremacist Trump supporter was just detained outside Casa Carmelita. He was sitting in his truck wearing blue latex gloves, and brandishing a knife. Police recovered a loaded gun, ammo, and a bag of white powder from his person."

In a follow-up Facebook post after Bartram was released, Casa Carmelita wrote: "What was that large bag of white powder you pulled off of him? Should we be concerned about explosives? Did he have a concealed weapons permit? Police stated that the gunman has rights, that they cannot search his truck, and that they have no cause to arrest him.

"An eyewitness saw him brandishing a gun and attempting to enter our building, women were fleeing down the street, warning neighbors as they ran away. We watched officers removing clips of ammo from his person.

"One officer acknowledged that if they had not arrived when they did, Thomas was likely to have committed acts which would be 'a different situation.' They released him shortly after, on our block."

Speaking to NBC News, Bartram denied waving his pistol around, said the white powder was a protein supplement, and said the blue latex gloves and knife were for fruit: "I was eating prickly pears."

Bartram also said he wanted to be respectful of the 22 victims of the El Paso terror attack, most of who were Hispanics, a shooting allegedly carried out by 21-year-old Trump supporter Patrick Crusius on Saturday. Dozens more were injured in the attack. Crusius was arrested.

BREAKING: A white supremacist Trump supporter was just detained outside Casa Carmelita. He was sitting in his truck...

Posted by Casa Carmelita on Wednesday, August 7, 2019

However, Bartram echoed InfoWars in raising the prospect that the El Paso shooting was a so-called "false flag" attack. He is now heading up to Portland, Oregon, for protests this weekend at which there are expected to be violent clashes between left and right groups.

"People can interpret my political opinion outside what they are; that's their right," Bartram told NBC News. "But I'm definitely not a white supremacist."

On the day of Trump's visit, Bartram was one of a handful of Trump supporters who shouted slogans in support of the president as mourners gathered at a memorial to the El Paso victims.

Update: The young white male with clear intent to conduct an armed assault on a local migrant solidarity community...

Posted by Casa Carmelita on Thursday, August 8, 2019

He spoke to The Washington Examiner, and said he drove down from Houston to make a point: "It seemed like the right thing to do, to come out and support Trump. He's getting a lot of criticism," and added that he is "an open-carry kind of guy" at political rallies.

However, on this occasion he decided not to come open-carry: "It's a funeral so it didn't seem like the right thing to do."

Bartram appears in a photo from the picture agency Alamy taken in May last year at a protest held by gun-rights group Open Carry Texas at the annual meeting of the gun lobbyist National Rifle Association in Dallas.

According to the caption, Bartram is carrying a "PTR-91 rifle on his back and a 'Come And Take It' Gonzales flag," which dates from the 1835 Battle of Gonzales in the Texas Revolution.

armed Trump supporter gun el paso texas
Gun advocate Thomas Bartram takes part in a counter-protest in response to protesters opposing the NRA's annual convention on Saturday, May 5, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP/Getty Images
El Paso Police Release Armed Trump Supporter With Rambo-style Pickup Truck Who Sparked Fear at Migrant Center: 'I Was Eating Prickly Pears' | U.S.