by Casey Murphy
Friday night, September 19, an armed 42-year-old man jumped the White House fence and welcomed himself in. Omar Gonzalez of Copperas Cove, Texas, was the suspect. Gonzalez ignored warnings signs from Secret Service and entered the front portico. Once he entered the building, people inside the White House had to evacuate. At the time of the incident, Obama and his family were not home. The family had left just 4 minutes earlier from the South Lawn in a helicopter to visit Camp David.
How can a man jump a guarded fence and run across a secured front yard then enter the highly secured White House? That’s the question on many minds. A Bellbrook High School junior Calla Hemelgarn responds, “The security did not attack the man because they probably did not see the knife and so did not feel he was a threat at the time. If one of the security guards would have shot the intruder then it would be a false fire and in return a bad image for American protection, also possible lawsuit.”
The incentive of the intruder to storm the White House with such persistence is understood to be an attempt to inform the President that “the atmosphere was collapsing” and needed to contact the president “so he could get word out to the people.” Gonzalez was shortly after transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation. Gonzalez will appear in federal court Monday, September 22, to face charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building and grounds while carrying a deadly weapon.
A Secret Service police officer stands near an entrance to the White House complex during an evacuation.