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Photograph: EPA/MAX WHITTAKER / POOL

A British man attempted to take a police officer's gun and use it to kill Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a Las Vegas campaign rally on the weekend, court documents filed Monday show.

Michael Steven Sandford claimed he was seeking an autograph from Trump before attempting to seize a Las Vegas police officer's sidearm from its holster at the Trump rally Saturday at the Treasure Island Casino.

Sandford was taken into custody after the unsuccessful attempt to grab the officer's gun. It was not clear from the court documents how the attempt was foiled or how close Sandford got to the candidate.

Sandford, who was found to hold a British driver's license, told investigators he had opted to try to seize the officer's gun because he saw that as the easiest way to acquire a weapon to shoot Trump.

He had been planning to kill Trump for about a year, according to statements he made to police detailed in the court documents. He told police that he had been in the US for one and a half years, living in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Police said Sandford also "revealed that he made conscious effort to come to Las Vegas to kill Trump." Had he not been successful in Las Vegas, Sandford told police, he planned to try again at another rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

Police also confirmed Sandford's claims that he had visited a gun range the day before the Trump rally to practice shooting a 9-mm Glock pistol "for the purpose of learning how to use it."

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