Man causes disruption at FAMU convocation, McCain visit


An unidentified man interrupted two Tallahassee events Wednesday, both very public and both very bizarre.


The man grabbed the attention during former Florida A&M University president Frederick Humphries’ speech at the FAMU Founders’ Day Convocation when he walked nonchalantly to the stage and passed what looked like a book and a small package to the former president.  


A bomb squad was dispatched to examine the small parcel and it was determined that there was no threat.


FAMU Interim Police Chief John Earst said the package contained a first aid kit and a few other items, but nothing that was threatening.


“We didn’t file charges because there was no criminal intent,” Earst said.


Earst added that after an interview, the man claimed to be a friend of Humphries who just wanted to say hello.


As Humphries spoke, the man nodded, closed his eyes and touched his heart with empathy. Someone in the crowd attempted to stop him as he headed toward the stage.


Earst said the man, although no criminal charges were filed, was Baker acted and transported to a medical facility for treatment.


The Baker Act can be enacted by judges, law enforcement officials and medical professionals in the event that a person becomes a threat to themselves or others and allows for involuntary examination.


“It’s just unfortunate that certain activities do cause alarm,” Earst said. “But we must err on the side of caution and those were the measures that were taken.”


Earst said the man was transported to a medical facility.


The same man later disrupted a Mitt Romney rally Wednesday hosted by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the Tallahassee chapter of the American Legion.


The man walked into the building fifteen minutes into Sen. McCain’s speech and sat in the front row. He greeted the senator and briefly threw McCain off the course of his speech.


Over the remainder of McCain’s speech, the man continued to make loud comments in affirmation of the senator’s points.


Afterwards, the man walked on stage, gave McCain a hug, turned and exited the left of the stage in a military fashion.


While the senator later greeted people in the audience and made his way to the front door, there was a loud commotion in the stairwell the man walked into after leaving the stage.


The attending police were called for and the word spreading through the crowd was that the man had fallen on the stairs, though this was unconfirmed.


“It’s not every day you have someone approach a stage,” Earst added.