Watch CBSN Live

​Friend: Man who wanted to kill Donald Trump needs mental help

LAS VEGAS -- A family friend of a British man who told authorities he wanted to kill Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said she thinks the young man needs help rather than prison.

Julie Debnam said her son went to the same primary school as 20-year-old Michael Sandford, who was arrested at a Trump rally in Las Vegas on Saturday after authorities said he reached for an officer's gun.

Secret Service: British man plotted to kill Donald Trump

Secret Service agents said Sandford told them he planned to kill Trump. He has been charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds.

Debnam described Sandford as an intelligent boy who had low self-esteem and began showing signs of autism as he grew older.

A judge declined Monday to release Sandford on bail, saying he poses a risk to the community. Sandford had an expired visa and was living out of his car.

According to a complaint released during his arraignment in U.S. District Court Monday afternoon, Sandford told police he drove from California to Las Vegas to kill Trump, CBS affiliate KLAS reported.

Information surfaced during the hearing that Sandford is unemployed has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. His mother was reportedly sending him money and told prosecutors he is a flight risk if he makes bail.

The prosecutor in the case told the judge Sandford has not been diagnosed with a mental illness, but has attempted suicide in the past. He has also been treated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anorexia.

He does not have a criminal record. His court-appointed attorney told the judge Sandford has an expired passport, preventing him from leaving the country. The public defender requested her client be released to a halfway house.

Suspect may have tried to "kill Trump"

The judge, however, ordered him to remain in custody, pointing to the allegations in a five-page federal complaint that details Sandford's alleged plan to "shoot and kill" Trump.

The report says Sandford acknowledged, "He would be killed by law enforcement during his attempt on Trump's life."

He also told investigators he visited the Battlefield Vegas gun range the day before the rally, where he "fired 20 rounds," according to the complaint. Battlefield Vegas declined to comment for this story.

Sandford's next court date is a preliminary hearing set for July 5.

Trump's son has praised law enforcement for stopping the attempted attack, though he didn't say if there will be any security changes on the campaign trail.

Donald Trump Jr. said Tuesday on "Good Morning America" that he was glad "real professionals" are looking out for his father, mentioning local and U.S. Secret Service authorities.

Trump Jr. said he loved his dad and was glad nothing happened. He also said he had faith in law enforcement to protect his father because it's impossible to plan for every scenario.

View CBS News In