UPDATED: Dover man indicted after flashing gun at political rally

WILMINGTON — A 60-year-old Dover man has been indicted on felony charges for allegedly pointing a gun toward protesters at a political rally on Sept. 24, the Delaware Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Michael B. Hastings was charged with first-degree reckless endangering and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony for an alleged incident outside a campaign rally for U.S. Senate Republican candidate Lauren Witzke, according to the DOJ.

Michael B. Hastings

Delaware State Police said Mr. Hastings was arrested after turning himself in to Troop 6 at approximately 6:30 p.m. Monday. He turned in a firearm connected to the case, a Glock 17 handgun, as requested by detectives, spokesman Sgt. Darren Lester said.

The indictment by a New Castle County grand jury followed an investigation by the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust, the DOJ said.

“The right to free expression should be free of danger,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings in a news release.

“This is not responsible gun ownership. A firearm is a deadly weapon, period, and there is never a good reason to point it toward anyone except in self-defense.

“Mr. Hastings’ actions endangered others and we will prosecute him fully.”

The alleged incident occurred in the area of Lancaster Pike and Barbara Road in Wilmington, police said.

Mr. Hastings was arraigned before Justice of the Peace Court 11 and released on his own recognizance, police said. The court ordered that he must relinquish all firearms and/or deadly weapons and may not acquire or possess any as well, police said.

Mr. Hastings is scheduled for an appearance in Superior Court on Oct. 16.

A possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony brings a three-year minimum mandatory sentence, the DOJ said.

The Associated Press reported last month that Ms. Witzke, who is challenging Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat, for office in November, said she saw a video of the alleged incident and denounced the behavior of the armed man, whom she identified as one of her supporters.

“As we said at the time of the incident, we fully condemn the actions of the accused, and we thank our police and the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust for their diligent work in keeping Delawareans safe,” Ms. Witzke said in an emailed statement Tuesday after the indictment was announced.

This story was updated to provide additional details.