White House intruder had huge stash of ammunition, court hears

The agency has increased security around the White House following the security breach and started a review of its response. (Reuters)

A man who triggered a security alert when he jumped the White House fence and ran into the building had 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, a court heard Monday.

Omar Gonzalez, 42, was arrested on Friday after he evaded the outer layer of security around the U.S. presidential residence and made it inside carrying a knife.

The U.S. Army said on Sunday that Gonzalez is a U.S. military veteran who was decorated for his service in the Iraq war.

Gonzalez is facing a charge of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Gonzalez was carrying a folding knife with a 3-1/2-inch-long (9-cm-long) serrated blade when he climbed a fence and made it into the White House on Friday night after President Barack Obama had departed.

According to an affidavit released by prosecutors, Gonzalez told a U.S. Secret Service agent after he was apprehended that “he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and [he] needed to get the information to the president of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people.”

The incident was one of the most significant breaches since Obama became president in 2009 and raised questions about security procedures at the White House, a heavily guarded complex filled with Secret Service officers and snipers.

According to the Army, Gonzalez, who had the rank of sergeant, enlisted in July 1997, listing his home as Puerto Rico, and was discharged in September 2003 after completing his service obligation. He re-enlisted in 2005 and retired on disability from the Army in 2012.

Gonzalez served in Iraq from October 2006 to January 2008, receiving decorations including an Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars.

During his first enlistment, he served with the 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. Postings during his second enlistment included Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and Fort Hood.

A second man was arrested on Saturday for trespassing at the White House after approaching the White House gates on foot, being sent away and then returned in a vehicle, the Secret Service said.

The agency has increased security around the White House following the security breach and started a review of its response.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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