US officials confirm that a man with a knife in his pocket jumped a fence of the White House in Washington DC and made it into the building before being apprehended.
The man who has been identified as 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez has been accused of unlawfully entering a restricted building while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.
US Secret Service has filed an affidavit in court, Saturday, September 20, 2014 in support of a criminal complaint against Gonzalez. It said he carried “a Spyderco VG-10 folding knife with a three-and-a-half inch serrated blade in his pants pocket”.
Whereas, on Friday, September 19, 2014, the Secret Service said the fence jumper appeared to be unarmed. An officer says he yelled at the intruder to stop, and his order was ignored.
Upon his arrest, Gonzalez who is from Texas, told a Secret Service agent that he was concerned that “the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the President of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people”, the affidavit said.
Gonzalez is scheduled to appear before a magistrate on Monday. He could be facing a 10-year sentence if convicted and given the maximum sentence.
Director of the US Secret Service Julia Pierson ordered enhanced officer patrols and surveillance along the North Fence of the compound just after the incident on Friday evening, which triggered a rare evacuation of the White House as well as renewed scrutiny about the agency’s ability to protect the president and his family, NY Post reports.
“The president has full confidence in the Secret Service and is grateful to the men and women who day in and day out protect himself, his family and the White House,” said White House spokesman Frank Benenati after the incident.
US media reports that President Barack Obama had just left the White House to Camp David via helicopter with his daughters four minutes before the security breach.