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Man charged with attempted assassination in White House shooting

November 17, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(U.S. Park Police )

An Idaho man has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama in connection with a shooting incident at the White House on Friday night.

A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania states that Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, "knowingly did attempt to kill the President of the United States." The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Ortega-Hernandez was arrested in Indiana, Pa., on Wednesday, five days after a shooting incident near the National Mall.

The U.S. Secret Service, ATF, FBI, U.S. Park Police and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department had been working together to locate Ortega-Hernandez after law enforcement Friday responded to the sound of gunfire on Constitution Avenue, approximately 700 yards south of the White House.

A witness stated that a man stopped his car and began shooting through the passenger-side window in the direction of the White House.

On Tuesday, personnel discovered two rounds of ammunition on the White House grounds, at least one of which damaged historic exterior glass in a window above the Truman Balcony on the South Portico.

Charging documents state that Ortega-Hernandez owned an "AK-47 like gun," and that a witness who has known him said his statements about the government and Obama specifically had "gotten worse" in the last year.

Recently, according to the witness, Ortega-Hernandez had said he was "preparing for something," and that he believed Obama was "the devil" and had to be "taken care of."

Obama was not at the White House at the time of the incident; he was attending the Carrier Classic basketball game in Coronado, before leaving for an economic summit in Hawaii.

Magistrate Judge Cynthia R. Eddy ordered that Ortega-Hernandez remain detained pending further proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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