US & Canada

White House 'intruder' Omar Gonzalez faces new charges

Omar Gonzalez with wife Samantha, date unknown Image copyright AP
Image caption Omar Gonzalez with wife Samantha, in an undated photo

Additional charges have been filed against a man accused of scaling the White House fence and running into the building while carrying a knife.

Earlier this month, Omar Gonzalez, 42, pleaded not guilty to other charges stemming from the incident.

He was allegedly tackled inside the White House on 19 September, and 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete found in his car.

A federal judge has ordered a mental competency review for Mr Gonzalez.

The three new charges include two federal counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees, and one count of unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

He was previously charged with entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon, and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Gonzalez will next appear in court on 21 October

Prosecutors say he jumped the main fence around the White House and gained entry inside through an unlocked door, then barrelled past a guard and ran into the East Room before being tackled.

US President Barack Obama and his family were not at the White House when the intrusion happened, having departed about 10 minutes earlier by helicopter.

Mr Gonzalez, an Iraq War veteran said to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, was previously stopped by Virginia police in July.

Officers found two powerful rifles, four handguns and other firearms and ammunition in his vehicle along with a map marking the White House.

In addition, it has been reported Secret Service agents interviewed Mr Gonzalez twice during the summer but concluded he was not a security threat.

He is currently scheduled to appear in court on 21 October.

The incident was the latest in a string of security lapses overseen by the Secret Service, tasked with guarding the Obama family.

Litany of lapses

Nov 2009: A couple filming a reality show make it past Secret Service checkpoints into a dinner for visiting Indian prime minister

Nov 2011: A man parks a car directly south of the White House and opens fire with a rifle, striking the residence at least seven times. Secret Service supervisors fail to realise the White House has been struck for four days - until a housekeeper discovers the damage.

April 2012: Eleven Secret Service employees preparing for the president's visit to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Columbia, bring sex workers back to their hotel.

Nov 2013: A senior supervisor on the president's protective detail starts a row after demanding access to a woman's room at the Hay Adams Hotel overlooking the White House. He leaves behind in the room a bullet from his service weapon.

March 2014: Three agents on the elite counter assault team are sent home from the Netherlands, where they have been preparing for a presidential visit, after one is found passed out drunk in a hallway.

16 September 2014: An armed security contractor with a felony criminal record is allowed to board a lift with the president in a government building in Atlanta.

19 September 2014: Omar Gonzalez, a troubled Iraq War veteran, scales a fence at the White House, evades agents during his dash across the lawn, and enters the White House through an unlocked and unalarmed door.

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