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White House intruder pleads guilty

Washington, PTI | Updated : 14 March 2015, 07:46 PM

The man who intruded the White House in September last year has pleaded guilty to charges of entering the highly protected building with a folding knife after climbing the fence, US Attorney Ronald C Machen said.

Omar Gonzalez, 42, formerly of Copperas Cove, Texas, pled guilty in the US District Court for the District of Columbia to two federal offences: one count of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon and one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees.

He is to be sentenced on June 8, 2015. He has been in custody since his arrest on September 19, 2014.

“We are pleased that Mr Gonzalez has chosen to take responsibility for his incomprehensible decision to leap a fence and charge into the White House with a knife,” Machen said yesterday.

“He is lucky to be alive. Mr Gonzalez faces significant prison time because of his crime and at sentencing we anticipate that he will barred from entering the District of Columbia and required to undergo psychiatric treatment.

“We hope that this prosecution deters others in the future from taking any actions that threaten the First Family, the White House, and the public servants who work there,” he added.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range for the offences is a prison term of twelve to 18 months and possible fines.

Upon completion of his prison term, Gonzalez would be placed on supervised release.

According to the government’s evidence, on September 19, 2014, at about 7:19 p.m., Gonzalez climbed over the north fence of the White House and while he was climbing over the fence, officers with the US Secret Service’s Uniformed Division ran towards him and repeatedly yelled at him to stop and get down.

Gonzalez, however, ignored the commands and landed on the north grounds of the White House.

Moments later, after ignoring additional, repeated commands from uniformed officers to stop, Gonzalez went through the north doors of the White House, knocking a uniformed officer backwards.

Another uniformed officer then tackled him inside the White House.

Gonzalez was searched and a folding knife, with a serrated blade that was over three and one-half inches long, was discovered in his right front pants pocket.

After his arrest, he gave oral consent to search his vehicle, located on Constitution Avenue NW.

The vehicle contained hundreds of rounds of ammunition, in boxes and in magazines, two hatchets and a machete.

First Published: Saturday, March 14, 2015 07:43 PM
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