800 rounds of ammunition found in the car of White House intruder
A homeless US army veteran who jumped a fence and ran into the White House with a knife had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, a court heard Monday.
Omar Gonzalez, 42, appeared in US District Court as Barack Obama’s spokesman said the president is “obviously concerned” by Friday’s (Sept 26) stunning security breach.
Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, the native Texan stood impassively as US prosecutor David Mudd revealed that investigators had found the ammunition – “in boxes and magazines” – during a search of a car that was parked near the White House.
Also discovered were two hatchets and a machete, said Mudd, who made no mention of any firearms but described the accused as homeless, penniless and a flight risk.
Veteran served twice in Iraq
Gonzalez who had twice served in Iraq, was arrested on Friday after he evaded the outer layer of security around the US presidential residence, carrying a folding knife, and made it inside before being tackled.
He is charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Turns out, this was not his first run in with the law, Mudd revealed that Gonzalez had been free on bail following his arrest in July in the nearby state of Virginia on felony charges of eluding arrest and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
On that occasion, Mudd said, police found “numerous firearms” in Gonzalez’s vehicle, including a sniper rifle, plus a map tucked into a Bible with the White House and a Masonic temple circled.
Gonzalez was also stopped, but not arrested, outside the White House in August with a hatchet in his rear waist band.
Police searched his car, but only found camping gear and two dogs.
Fixated on White House
“Mr Gonzalez’s preoccupation with the White House and accumulation of a large amount of ammunition ... renders him a danger to the president,” Mudd told Judge John Facciola, who set Oct 1 for a detention hearing.
Gonzalez was assigned a lawyer to represent him, but an offer of a mental health assessment was declined.
Earlier Monday, as the Secret Service reviewed its security practices, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama had been repeatedly briefed on Friday’s incident.
“His family lives in the White House, and so he is obviously concerned by the incident that occurred on Friday evening,” he said.
“At the same time, the president continues to have complete confidence in the professionals at the Secret Service.”