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Clinton Meets 2 Who Halted Gunman at White House : Violence: The President offers the pair his thanks and 'a little of his famous small talk.' One has a goal of joining the Secret Service.

November 09, 1994| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two tourists who tackled a gunman at the White House received President Clinton's thanks Tuesday, and one said his ultimate goal is to join the Secret Service and protect the President full time.

"I feel that would be the ultimate, to help protect the President and the country in that way, said Kenneth A. Davis, a Maryland state corrections officer.

Davis, a Beeville, Tex., native living in Hagerstown, Md., and Harry Rakosky of San Antonio were strangers to each other when they rushed the gunman on the Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk outside the White House on Oct. 29.

Clinton offered his personal thanks to both in a meeting in the Oval Office. Davis said Rakosky, 34, didn't want to meet reporters because "he just wants some peace."

"The President wanted to thank us officially," Davis said. "He gave us a handshake and a good time and a little of his famous small talk."

Davis said he and Rakosky did not coordinate their movements when they moved in on the gunman. Francisco Martin Duran, 26, an ex-convict from Colorado Springs, Colo., has been arrested in the case.

Davis said the gunman had fired 10 or 12 shots through the White House fence, then backed away, swept the gun barrel toward the tourists surrounding him and fired six or seven more shots before stopping to reload.

At that point, he said, he and Rakosky moved independently and jumped the gunman before he could fire again. Their feet, he said, "just started going."

What were his motives?

"I was concerned with the President, of course, and the schoolchildren who were there on the sidewalk and the tourists," he said. "I couldn't have lived with myself if I hadn't done anything."

Once down, the gunman said nothing, Davis recalled. "He just lay there passive. He just kicked his feet once. He looked really distant, like he wasn't really there."

Davis was asked whether he thought the gunman was trying to hurt Clinton.

He said there was a group of people near the White House at the time and it appeared to him that Duran was shooting at them.

"I feel he was shooting at someone," he said. "I can't say what was in his mind."

He was asked whether he believes that security at the White House is adequate and whether Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the executive mansion should be closed.

"I definitely do not think Pennsylvania Avenue should be closed," he said. "That Saturday was the first time I had ever been at the White House, but I think I and others should be able to come up and see it close up. I agree with the President wholeheartedly on that."

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