Man charged with trying to assassinate Obama, president wasn't in town

The suspect arrested for shooting at the White House last week has been charged with trying to assassinate President Obama. 

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, was charged with trying to kill the president by firing multiple rounds at the White House last Friday, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

The charge carries a maximum life sentence.

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Pennsylvania State Police, acting on information provided by the Secret Service, arrested Ortega-Hernandez on Wednesday in a hotel in Indiana, Pa., after a desk clerk reportedly turned him in.

According to court documents, FBI investigators on Wednesday found “several confirmed bullet impact points on the south side of the [White House] on or above the second story.”

One bullet broke an exterior window of the White House before being stopped by a second, stronger pane of ballistic glass.

The second and third levels of the White House are where Obama and his family reside.

Obama and the first lady were not in any danger from the shooting. They had traveled to California last Friday and from there flew to Hawaii. On Tuesday, the first lady returned to the White House, while Obama headed to Australia.

According to court documents, a witness told the U.S. Park Police last Friday that a man in a dark-colored sedan in front of her shot a gun through his passenger-side window in the direction of the White House and then sped off.


Another witness reported hearing approximately eight sounds of a “popping noise” and saw “puffs of air” coming from the man’s car, according to documents.

Shortly afterward, police found an abandoned car near the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. A witness described the vehicle’s driver as attempting to restart the car, then fleeing on foot when that failed, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities found a Romanian Cugir SA semiautomatic assault rifle in the car with a large scope mounted on top of it. They also found three fully loaded ammunition clips, nine spent shell casings, an aluminum baseball bat and brass knuckles, according to the court records.

A person in Idaho who “knows Ortega-Hernandez well” told the U.S. Park Police and the U.S. Secret Service during an interview that the suspect “has increasingly become more agitated against the federal government, and is convinced that the federal government is conspiring against him,” according to court documents.

 The person also told authorities “that Ortega-Hernandez wanted to ‘hurt’ President Obama and referred to him as ‘the Antichrist.’ Several other people who know Ortega-Hernandez told authorities they believed the suspect was ‘preparing for something,’ referred to Obama as ‘the devil,’ and that he ‘will not stop until it’s done.’ ”

Several of the people in Idaho interviewed by the U.S. Park Police said that Ortega-Hernandez owned a car and a gun similar to those discovered near the White House last week.

Ortega-Hernandez heard the charges brought against him in a federal court in Pennsylvania on Thursday. He is scheduled to be transferred to D.C., where the remainder of his court proceedings will take place.


—Last updated at 8:06 p.m.