According to Independent Mr Long said:

At first it was peaceful protest. Until someone pointed a gun at my head. Then the same person pointed it at my foot and shot the ground.


Another extremist later lunged at Mr Long with a confederate flag and he fought back with a spray can he said he found on the ground, putting a lighter to the nozzle and turning it into a weapon

enter image description here
Image posted under fair use.

Is this reconstruction truthful or consistent with the known facts of the matter?

Note: This question was created because of the discussion here.

  • I've removed all interpretation requests from the question and limited to the facts, then reopened.
    – Sklivvz
    Aug 20, 2017 at 10:08
  • @Sklivvz I find it quite strange that it turned from "was he using this in response to violence" into "did someone aim at him and shoot the ground". The answer to the second question is "Yes"... and it creates a less negative (if not positive) image of the suspect. If questioning motives is what you tried to avoid, you could (and should) have used something like "Was Long fighting back an attacking protester" which is the exact quote from the suspect. Sep 2, 2017 at 8:03
  • I paraphrased the first cite almost to the word.
    – Sklivvz
    Sep 2, 2017 at 8:12
  • @Sklivvz Why not paraphrase the second one, which shows a clearer picture of what happened? Wouldn't that be the best way to avoid our subjective interpretation of the events? Sep 2, 2017 at 8:13
  • 1
    The only subjectivity is in motivations ("was X in response to Y"). Both the question and the answer only refer to the order of events, which does show the quote is misleading, as mr. Long started spraying before the other events. I am not sure what you find problematic, as either quote is in the question body anyways.
    – Sklivvz
    Sep 2, 2017 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


As seen in the linked video, released by the ACLU of Virginia, the order of events was:

First Corey Long directs paint spray toward a group of protestors carrying confederate flags, who are on the stairs. The protestor (Scott Woods) furthest down the stairs briefly covers his mouth with his shirt to avoid inhaling the spray.

[These stairs are the south-west exit from Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park, onto Market Street]

Next Corey Long ignites the spray.

Then Scott Woods waves the flag pole at the flame.

Then a third person in the street points a handgun in the general direction of Long and fires, at the ground according the New York Times article linked above.

enter image description here

Richard Wilson Preston has been arrested for allegedly discharging a firearm within 1000 feet of a school in connection with the shooting. (seeVirginia § 18.2-280) Additional information about Preston was reported by the Baltimore Sun.

At a 12 October 2017 hearing, Judge Robert H. Downer denied Preston bond and said:

I think firing a firearm under those circumstances is not justified ... It may justify pulling a pistol out — and maybe when I see the video I may change my mind — but a bullet goes somewhere, and this was in a park where there were lots of people.

Update 16 October 2017:

Corey Alexander Long (the man with the flamethrower) has been charged with assault and with disorderly conduct in connection with the incident according to Charlottesville District Court records and news reports .

Update 14 June 2018:

Richard Wilson Preston pleaded "no contest" to the charges and will be sentenced 21 August 2018. In a second video of the incident shown in court, Preston said to the flamethrower man, "Go ahead, I'll shoot you. Go ahead.", according to NBC News.

Corey Alexander Long was found guilty of disorderly conduct, but charges of assault were not prosecuted. Long was sentenced to 360 days, all but 20 days of which were suspended.

  • 10
    The "Confederate White Knights" are the "Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan", right? It's a bit difficult to believe that they were not originally racist. The timeline is also not so clear to me. The group became racist in the 60s, but Peston was a member in 2013, even though he disagrees with it?
    – tim
    Aug 28, 2017 at 17:20
  • 9
    @tim Yes, it is the KKK. As far as I know it's always been racist. It's strange that the Baltimore Sun says that without clarifying or fact checking. This is what the Baltimore Sun said in 2013 baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/belair/…
    – DavePhD
    Aug 28, 2017 at 17:42
  • 3
    The shot that was successfully fired was aimed towards the ground; look at the video 6 seconds earlier, examining the actions and posture of Preston. In the first attempt, he assumes a higher point of aim, but is defeated by a gun malfunction. Sep 1, 2017 at 19:23
  • 7
    @I don't have any aditing skills, but I hear the sound without any filtering. I can't say that it's necceseraly the sound of the guns mechanism. More over, even if it is, it doesn't prove that he tried to shot to hit (Maybe he knew his gun is unloaded and thought that that would scare the guy). In any case it's irrelevant to the question, it's obvious that the weapon was drawn and discharged after the spray can was set on fire.
    – SIMEL
    Sep 3, 2017 at 19:09
  • 7
    I am not happy with the first paragraph. What you describe is the sequence of events in the video, but the formulation of the paragraph makes it look as if that was "the" chain of events. As the video starts, there is already confrontation (and spraying) going on, so we don't know how it actually developed to that point.
    – DevSolar
    Sep 4, 2017 at 12:58

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