Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale was involuntarily hospitalized and had his firearms confiscated on Sunday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after his wife told police he was suicidal, hit her, had a collection of guns, and had loaded one of them during a heated argument.
Responding officers ultimately tackled Parscale in the driveway of his home and then “involuntarily committed” him to a mental-health facility under the state’s Baker Act, which allows police to detain a person who is a threat to themselves or others.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald, police reports indicate that Parscale’s wife, Candice, fled their home after Parscale pulled out a handgun and chambered a round in it amid a heated exchange between the couple. Candice Parscale came upon a realtor showing a neighboring home who called 911. Per the Sun-Sentinel:
On the phone, Candice Parscale told a 911 dispatcher that she heard a gunshot shortly after exiting her home, and was afraid her husband was going to kill himself. Later, she told an officer she couldn’t be sure if it had been a gunshot, or a car backfiring.
“Oh no, did he do that? Oh my gosh, your arms, both your arms, has he been hurting you?” the realtor can be heard asking Candice Parscale, as they wait for the police.
She also told officers that Brad Parscale had been “stressed out” over the past two weeks and had made comments about shooting himself.
“He’s under a lot of stress right now,” Candice Parscale reportedly told the dispatcher. “He’s just pissed at the world so he like walked out, cocked the handgun and was just ranting and raving about something — I don’t know what.” She also said that her husband had a collection of guns and subsequently told responding officers that he had PTSD, drinks, and had recently been physically abusive, per the Herald:
Officers also wrote in their reports that Parscale’s wife told them he had post-traumatic stress disorder and had become violent in recent weeks. Candice Parscale, 41, showed them bruises on her arms from an argument two days prior, they said. Police say they took photos of injuries. “While speaking with [Candice] Parscale I noticed several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead,” wrote Detective Steven Smith, slightly misspelling her first name. “When I asked how she received the bruising, [Candice] Parscale stated Brad Parscale hits her.”
Parscale’s wife told them her husband had not hit her Sunday, but had smacked her phone out of her hand when she tried to call his father. She said he’d talked about shooting himself in recent weeks.
The women waited in a car on the street for police to respond, and the first officer on the scene reached Parscale — who was apparently pacing and raving inside the house — over the phone and later reported that “Bradley’s speech was slurred as though he was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, and he seemed to be crying.” The officer asked Parscale, “Can you come outside with no weapons please?” but was not able to get him to leave his house. A SWAT team and hostage negotiator also arrived on the scene.
Eventually, a personal friend Parscale had on the Fort Lauderdale police force arrived and got him to come outside. According to a body-camera video later released by the police, Parscale walked toward the officer, telling him, “Listen, I’m not trying to kill myself. She’s lying.” Then three other officers surrounded the six-foot-eight Parscale and ordered him to get on the ground, and one tackled him using what the police report calls a “double-leg takedown.” While this is all happening, Parscale can be heard repeating “I didn’t do anything”:
Police later found and confiscated a total of ten guns from inside Parscale’s home, including two shotguns, two rifles, five handguns, and a .22-caliber revolver. He was involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation to Broward Health Medical Center, where, under Florida’s Baker Act, he can be can held for up to 72 hours. The Herald reports that, “Police have not charged Parscale with any crimes, but were preparing a petition Monday under Florida’s ‘red flag’ law to request that his guns be taken away, according to a spokeswoman.”
Parscale, who developed Trump’s 2016 strategy for advertising directly to voters on Facebook, became his campaign manager in February 2018, a position he held until July 2020, when he was removed in the fallout after the president held a poorly attended rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, amid widespread fear about the coronavirus. Following his demotion — Parscale remained on the reelection team as an adviser for data and digital operations — the New York Times reported that the campaign had spent $39 million in services provided by two firms owned by Parscale.
After the news of Parscale’s hospitalization broke on Sunday night, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh released a statement supporting Parscale and partially blaming the opposing party and anti-Trump Republicans for his health: “Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we all love him,” the statement reads. “We are ready to support him and his family in any way possible. The disgusting, personal attacks from Democrats and disgruntled RINOs have gone too far, and they should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to this man and his family.”
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, contact the following people who want to help:
This post has been updated throughout to include new information.