Monday, September 22, 2014

US: Update--Army Veteran Omar González Had 800 Rounds of Ammo in His Car

According to Reuters, investigators found more than 800 rounds of ammunition in the car of the man accused of scaling the White House fence and sprinting inside The White House, a federal prosecutor said Monday (September 22). A machete and two hatchets also were found.

Assistant US Attorney David Mudd declared that Omar González was a danger to the president. González, who was carrying a knife, was arrested just inside the White House front door.

The retired US Army veteran, had been arrested earlier in the summer in Virginia with a carful of weapons, authorities said, and the federal prosecutor said Monday in court that Gonzalez had had a map with the White House circled.

At a hearing Monday for Gonzáles, Mudd said the man was already under indictment in Virginia, accused of having a sawed-off shotgun and eluding police in a criminal case  earlier this summer.

Separately, Wythe County Deputy Commonwealth Attorney David Saliba said Gonzáles also had two powerful rifles, four handguns and other guns and ammunition in his Ford Bronco when troopers stopped him in southwestern Virginia on July 19.

Saliba said González initially tried to flee troopers, weaving and driving off the road into a highway median. González was arrested at the scene after a trooper found the illegal shotgun in his car. The ammunition and weapons, including a tomahawk, were seized.

In Washington, the US Secret Service increased its security on Monday around the perimeter of the White House, the presidential residence and one of the government's enduring symbols, while investigating how officers had allowed the incident to happen.

The breach led to a rare evacuation of much of the White House Friday evening (September 19).

COMMENT: White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Secret Service investigation will include a review of protective efforts both inside the White House grounds and outside the fence line along Pennsylvania Avenue, including staffing and threat assessment policies and procedures.

González, a 42-year-old Army veteran from Copperas Cove, TX, faces charges of entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. 

The two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House's north gates has been closed to vehicle traffic since May 1995, when President Bill Clinton ordered the immediate closure of the road in an effort to prevent a potential car- or truck-bomb attack.

A few weeks later a Connecticut woman set off a police chase through downtown Washington after ramming a security checkpoint near the White House. Miriam Carey, 34, was shot and killed by police near the Capitol.
In August a toddler managed to slip through the slats in the metal fence surrounding the White House. The Secret Service joked that they would wait until the boy learned to talk before questioning him.
Less than 24 hours after González's arrest, a second man was taken into custody after he drove up to a White House gate and refused to leave, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. Bomb technicians in full gear searched the vehicle as agents briefly shut down nearby streets.
There was no indication the two incidents were connected. But they only intensified the scrutiny of the Secret Service, which is struggling to rehabilitate its image following a series of allegations of misconduct by agents in recent years, including agents assigned to President Obama's protective detail.
House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) is scheduled to meet with US Secret Service Director Julia Pierson later today. 

No comments: