Members of two groups — many of them armed — that profess to protect businesses and civilians stood watch during a Black Lives Matter protest in Elizabethtown on Saturday afternoon.
Members identified the groups as the Carlisle Light Infantry and Domestic Terrorism Response Organization. Several of them watched from a rooftop overlooking the town square.
Elizabethtown police Chief Edward Cunningham said his department was aware of the groups’ presence. “We’re obviously keeping an eye on them,” Cunningham said. “As long as they’re being peaceful and following the rules, they have as much of a right as everyone else.”
Christopher LaFrance, 30, of Avondale, Chester County, identified himself as Carlisle Light Infantry’s first sergeant. He said borough businesses requested the “apolitical” group for protection.
Dan McCorkel, 49, of Carlisle, Cumberland County, said the group was organized in 1784 and has never disbanded. He added that the militia participated in the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.
Three other men who identified themselves as Carlisle Light Infantry members were parked in an alley near the protest site. Jay, who declined to give his last name, said the Domestic Terrorism Response Organization has 300 members in central Pennsylvania and is dedicated to protecting businesses, citizens and homes.
He said he was 30 years old and an Elizabethtown resident.
LNP | LancasterOnline surveyed five businesses and Cunningham but could not determine if the two organizations were asked to attend the protest.
LNP's live video of the ongoing protest in Elizabethtown:
LNP correspondent John Duffy contributed to this report.