Thomas Matthew Crooks Quiet, Solitary, Highly Intelligent ... Years Before Shooting

The world is learning more about Thomas Matthew Crooks -- and we've got additional insight from his former peers and even a teacher, who says he was smart ... but notably solitary.

TMZ spoke with a couple of Crooks' ex-classmates from Bethel Park High School -- who were in his graduating class -- and both of them, who asked not to have their names released, tell us they knew him as a loner, but not one prone to violence.

We're told Crooks was seen as quiet and keeping to himself in class ... as well as during lunch, when we're told he'd often sit and eat by himself.

Trump Rally New Angle of Shooting ... Shows Attendees in Stands Under Fire

FIRING INTO THE BLEACHERS
TMZ.com

TMZ has obtained a new angle of the shooting at the Donald Trump rally this weekend -- and you can see how close some people were to getting hit by bullets.

Check out this footage we got a hold of -- which captures folks in the stands right behind Trump and right underneath the monitor he was referring to in describing a graph detailing the border situation ... with a ton of people right below it looking on.

You can hear DT speaking and making his typical talking points -- and out of nowhere ... you hear what sounds like 3 shots ring out ... with bullets ricocheting off the metal railings.

Trump Assassination Attempt Bullet Ricochets in Stands ... Bystander Goes Down

BLEACHERS HIT BY BULLET

Donald Trump took a bullet to the ear Saturday, but more than one was fired -- and, new video shows the moment one of the projectiles hit a railing ... and possibly a spectator too.

The clip -- which is now circulating on social media -- shows the seconds after 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks fired toward the stage Saturday in Butler, PA ... picking up as one of the bullets ricochets off the far railing of the stands and sends people scrambling.

Watch ... the noise from the shot rings out, and a small puff of smoke explodes into the air as the bullet strikes the metal rail. Two people standing nearby immediately react.

President Biden Positive for COVID Public Appearance Nixed

President Joe Biden's got the 'rona -- 'cause he just tested positive for COVID-19 ... and as a result, his public appearances are being put on pause.

The news came down Wednesday out of Vegas -- where Joe was scheduled to deliver remarks at a conference for UnidosUS ... a nonprofit that's geared toward Latino civil rights and advocacy.

OUT SICK

Instead of him hitting the podium in front of the media and others -- the organization's head honcho, Janet Murguía, came out instead and announced JB had contracted COVID, and wouldn't appear.

Eric Trump A 'Competent' Shooter Woulda Killed My Dad

THANK GOODNESS FOR INCOMPETENCE
CBS

Eric Trump is furious with the security lapses leading up to the assassination attempt on his father ... and says a competent shooter wouldn't have missed his target.

Donald Trump's son expanded on his father's brush with death in an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell ... saying it's hard to believe Thomas Matthew Crooks was able to fire at the former president from close range.

Eric says he grew up competing in shooting sports and a "rifle shot from 130 yards is like a four-inch putt ... you don't miss it if you're competent." A golf analogy for the Trumps is pretty on brand.

Thomas Matthew Crooks Classmate Says He Was a Trump Hater ... 'Did Not Like Politicians'

MR. KNOW IT ALL
Fox News

Thomas Matthew Crooks wasn't a fan of Donald Trump years before attempting to assassinate the former Prez ... so says one of his former classmates.

Vincent Taormina -- who went to high school with the would-be assassin -- spoke with FOX News about Thomas' political beliefs leading up to Saturday's attack ... and he says TMC didn't like politicians, period. However, he apparently really recoiled at the thought of DT.

7/13/24
SHOTS FIRED

Vince says he and Thomas had gotten into a heated debate ahead of the 2016 presidential election -- and he describes the guy as smug and arrogant when discussing topics he was passionate about, which included politics apparently.

Thomas Matthew Crooks Ghost at the Gun Club ... Mostly Unknown, But Did Go w/ Dad

Thomas Matthew Crooks was a member at a local gun club in Pennsylvania -- and even went a day before firing upon Donald Trump -- but he didn't leave a lasting impression on very many people who regularly go there ... TMZ has learned.

We've called around and connected with a handful of current members at the Clairton Sportsmen's Club -- not far from Crooks' home -- and the answer we got from just about all of them was the same ... nobody had ever heard of this guy before Saturday's shooting.

Bob Wolanin -- a longtime Clairton member -- tells us the name and face didn't stand out to him at all ... and ditto for another member and even a current worker at the club -- who didn't want their names out there -- but who relayed a similar sentiment ... namely, Thomas was a ghost as far as they're concerned.

President Biden I'll Drop Out ... But Only for a 'Medical Condition'

THE ONLY CONDITION
CBS / BET News

President Biden insists he has no plans to drop out of the presidential race -- but is now conceding that there is one scenario that could convince him to do so.

POTUS spoke with BET News correspondent Ed Gordon for a new interview, airing Wednesday, and admitted he'd walk away from his reelection efforts if his doctors advised him to.

He explained ... "If I had some medical condition that emerged and doctors came to me and said, 'You've got this problem, you've got that problem.' ... Look when I originally ran I said I was going to be a transitional candidate, and I thought I'd be able to move from this and pass it on to someone else."

Trump Assassination Attempt Limited Edition Sneakers For Sale ... Feat. Bloody Image After Shooting

A Donald Trump-owned website is selling sneakers featuring the iconic image of the former United States President just moments after he was shot and nearly assassinated ... with the limited edition kicks costing $299!

And, they're selling fast.

In addition to the historic photo, the high tops also say, "Fight, Fight, Fight" ... the words Trump yelled moments after the gunfire subsided.

Donald Trump Chaos Erupts as Trump Arrives at ER After Shooting

People in the emergency room at the hospital where Donald Trump was treated after being shot were beside themselves as the motorcade rolled up ... everyone seemed to fear it was JFK all over again.

A man who was recording the scene said out loud that Trump had been shot in the head ... this as 45 was still in the SUV that had just parked outside the ER.

Lara Trump Changed RNC Speech ... Post-Assassination Attempt

SHOOTING CHANGED EVERYTHING

Lara Trump says she changed her RNC speech after someone tried taking out her father-in-law ... and the one she gave instead certainly resonated, especially with him.

Donald Trump's daughter-in-law -- who's married to his son, Eric Trump, and who serves as a co-chair for the Republican National Committee -- stepped up to the podium Tuesday at the party's convention in Milwaukee and delivered what many are calling powerful remarks.

Take a listen ... right out of the gate, LT acknowledges she had a very different speech written out before DT was shot on Saturday -- and she reflected on how seeing that felt.

Rep. Matt Gaetz Heckles McCarthy at RNC ... Gets Checked & Called 'A**hole'!!!

CALLED OUT
Joe Khalil / NewsNation

Rep. Matt Gaetz is keeping his beef with ex-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy alive and well at the RNC -- taunting his nemesis on the floor ... and getting checked in the same breath.

A couple different videos from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee show Gaetz heckling McCarthy as the former congressman gives a TV interview ... interrupting him while he was speaking and mockingly wondering if he was set to speak Tuesday night.

Gaetz -- who led last year's charge to oust McCarthy as House Speaker -- can be overheard taunting KM over his lack of a speaking slot at the RNC ... at which point Gaetz drops the hammer, saying ... "If you took that stage, you would get booed off of it."

Trump's Secret Service Ex-Agent on Shooting ... How I Woulda Protected Ex-Prez

Donald Trump's Secret Service detail is catching heat for a security failure after he was shot -- and an ex-agent who worked with him has thoughts on how they could've prevented this.

Mike de Geus -- who worked for the Secret Service during the Trump years, and who used to guard the former President -- tells TMZ there were a lot of problems he saw with the way the Secret Service handled things Saturday, including several glaring issues they missed.

Here's What They Missed
TMZ.com

He points out that there are very simple things the agency could've done to block off the clear line of sight Thomas Matthew Crooks had from a building outside the perimeter ... even if that technically wasn't within the Secret Service's ring of protection.

'Simpsons' Slam Fake Trump Assassination Prediction ... We Don't Joke Like That!!!

Whoever created a fake 'Simpsons' image, falsely suggesting the show predicted Donald Trump would be assassinated is drawing the ire of the show's head honcho, who calls it a sick move.

The drama kicked off shortly after Thomas Matthew Crooks opened fire on the ex-Prez -- a social media user posted a doctored animated image of Trump from "The Simpsons," showing him in a casket with the caption, "First time I've seen a 'Simpsons' prediction fail."

Now, this entire premise is based on misinformation (more on that in a minute) ... but "The Simpsons" showrunner Matt Selman is still slamming the image in the strongest possible terms.

TMZ TV HOT TAKES Biden's Question For Trump ... Bhad Bhabie, NFL's Aiyuk

President Biden has an interesting question for Donald Trump, Bhad Bhabie has a lot of OnlyFans money coming in and Brandon Aiyuk has a request ... all this on today's TMZ TV Hot Takes.

TMZ Live

RINGING RFK
TMZ.com

First up on "TMZ Live" Harvey and Charles read into a video of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. getting a call from Trump ... and the question Trump claims Biden asked him after the failed assassination attempt.

Joe Biden 'Black Jobs' Include Presidency & Vice Presidency ... How Ya Like That Trump?!?

GO FIGURE

Joe Biden torched Donald Trump's comment about "Black jobs" -- saying the guy must not know the highest positions in government have been occupied by African Americans.

The Prez stopped by the annual NAACP convention in Vegas Tuesday, where he gave a keynote address ... in which he brought up his political rival's debate claim that "Black jobs" are being taken away by illegal immigrants as a result of the border crisis.

"THEY'RE TAKING BLACK JOBS"
CNN

Many have blasted 45 over the remark -- calling it racist -- which is probably why Biden invoked it yet again in Sin City ... this time spinning it to note that Barack Obama and Kamala Harris have carried some of the most important "Black jobs" in American history.

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