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Light shed on White House shooting suspect
Idaho man calls president ‘anti-Christ’
Question of the Day
The Idaho man charged Thursday with attempting to assassinate President Obama by firing shots at the White House told a close acquaintance the president is the “Antichrist” and that he “needed to kill him,” according to court documents.
The seven-page arrest warrant for Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, of Idaho Falls was filed in connection with the defendant’s federal court appearance Thursday in Pittsburgh, where he was formally charged.
Mr. Ortega-Hernandez will now return to the District to face the charge, which can carry the maximum penalty of life in prison.
According to the documents, two witnesses Friday night saw the driver of a dark-colored 1998 Honda Accord stop the vehicle on Constitution Avenue Northwest, behind the White House, long enough to fire as many as nine shots out the passenger window, then speed away.
The witnesses reported hearing “popping sounds” and seeing “puffs of air” from the passenger window.
A vehicle matching that description with Idaho tags was spotted soon afterward parked several blocks away. When the driver failed to restart the vehicle, he fled on foot. Inside the vehicle, police found a Romanian Cugir SA semiautomatic assault rife, a scope, ammunition, a black hooded jacket with a Los Angeles Dodgers logo, and registration that included Mr. Ortega-Hernandez’s name, the documents state.
The evidence in the vehicle helped a task force that included FBI authorities find Mr. Ortega-Hernandez at a Hampton Inn on Wednesday in Western Pennsylvania, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.
A Pennsylvania State Police commander said Secret Service agents visited the hotel, near Indiana, Pa., earlier this week looking for Mr. Ortega-Hernandez after learning he had stayed there previously. When Mr. Ortega-Hernandez arrived at the hotel, a clerk recognized him immediately and called police, who made the arrest without incident.
Though the U.S. Park Police immediately responded to the reports of shooting, several bullets and damage from their impact were not found on the south side of the White House until Tuesday. One bullet hit a window in the executive mansion, on a floor where the first family lives, according to investigators.
The close acquaintance also told investigators that in recent months Mr. Ortega-Hernandez had become increasingly “more agitated against the federal government, and is convinced that the federal government is conspiring against him.” Witnesses said Mr. Ortega-Hernandez left Idaho in October in the Honda and with his rifle in tow.
Investigators have not said where Mr. Ortega-Hernandez stayed in the Washington area before the shooting, but he was stopped the morning of the incident by Arlington police for acting suspicious. They took several picture of him, and at 5 p.m. that day he stopped at a Wal-Mart in Fairfax.
He was wearing the hooded jacket found in the Honda when stopped by police and in the store surveillance video, according to court documents.
The vehicle was found abandoned on the lawn of the Institute of Peace, near a ramp to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge that leads to Virginia.
Inside the car, authorities also found nine spent shell casings, an aluminum baseball bat and brass knuckles, court records state.
Among the places authorities from the Secret Service, Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Park Police and FBI began to look for Mr. Ortega-Hernandez was at the Occupy D.C. encampment at McPherson Square.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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