Rifle-toting vet arrested after dressing up, trying to join National Guard crowd control formation

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A rifle-toting veteran who once spent time in the National Guard was arrested Tuesday morning in Los Angeles after he reportedly dressed up in a uniform resembling those worn by California National Guard troops and attempted to fall into formation during the city’s anti-racism demonstrations.

Gregory Wong, 31, allegedly arrived equipped with multiple weapons after taking an Uber to the scene of the protests that have surged in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Once downtown, Wong reportedly joined a formation of guardsmen who had recently arrived to monitor select sites and aggressive crowd behavior — part of a 4,500-person force mobilized throughout California by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the report said.

But Wong’s time in formation didn’t last, as puzzled troops began to question the authenticity of the unfamiliar service member in the mismatching uniform.

Members of California National Guard stand guard outside the City Hall, Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

The skeptical troops subsequently alerted officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, the report said, who took Wong into custody at approximately 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

According to the report, police classified Wong’s M-4 rifle as a “ghost gun” — or, a custom-built weapon that contains no serial number. The veteran was also armed with a pistol, the report said.

For brandishing the rifle Wong was charged with the transportation of an assault weapon, LAPD officer Drake Madison told CBS.

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Madison added that Wong claimed to have come to the area only to provide security for a friend’s business.

“While investigators are still looking into the incident, at this time it does not appear that Mr. Wong intended to harm anyone,” Madison said.

The veteran is currently being held on $50,000 bond.

A search of Wong’s recent activity, meanwhile, reveals a foray into numerous endeavors under his personal brand, Spartan117GW, under which Wong claims to “currently manage social media for several companies and the fan club Jurassic Park Motorpool,” according to his bio on the brand website.

“Recently I also picked up World War 2 reennacting, cosplay, and background acting when I have free time. … Lately I have been fortunate to provide military technical consulting in the film and TV world helping make projects more realistic and fun for military audiances (sic).”

Twitter and Facebook accounts for Spartan117GW appear to have been disabled since Wong’s arrest.

About

J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times who was a Marine scout observer from 2004-2008. He ugly cried when the Washington Capitals won the 2018 Stanley Cup.

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