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Americas

US court charges man over attempted Obama assassination

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-17

Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, 21, was charged on Thursday by a court in the US state of Pennsylvania with trying to assassinate President Barack Obama, a week after he allegedly opened fire on the White House with an automatic rifle.

REUTERS - A 21-year-old man who called President Barack Obama the “devil” and “anti-Christ” was charged on Thursday with trying to assassinate the U.S. leader by opening fire on the White House with an assault rifle.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, were not in Washington at the time of the shooting Friday night and no one was hurt.
 
Oscar Ortega-Hernandez of Idaho appeared in a Pittsburgh court after his arrest on Wednesday at a hotel near Indiana, Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Secret Service.
 
The Secret Service said one bullet broke a White House window but was stopped by protective ballistic glass, and the other round struck the exterior of the building.
 
Two cars were seen racing from the scene. One vehicle was found abandoned nearby with a semi-automatic rifle on board, authorities said.
 
Ortega-Hernandez was charged with attempted assassination of the president, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen said at the court hearing.
 
If convicted, Ortega-Hernandez faces up to life in prison. A magistrate judge in Pittsburgh ordered him detained pending transfer to Washington.
 
Late Friday evening authorities responded to reports of gunfire south of the White House complex and witnesses reported a dark colored sedan speeding by.
 
Authorities found in the abandoned car a semi-automatic assault rifle with a large scope, as well as three loaded magazines of ammunition and nine spent shell casing, according to court papers.
 
FBI investigators who scoured the White House grounds on Wednesday found several bullet impacts on the south side of the executive mansion on the second story or above. The president’s family quarters are on those upper floors.
 
An FBI affidavit said a witness in Idaho who knows Ortega-Hernandez well said he had become increasingly agitated against the government.
 
The witness told authorities that Ortega-Hernandez “wanted to ‘hurt’ President Obama and referred to him as ‘the anti-Christ,’” according to the affidavit.
 
Another witness interviewed in Idaho told authorities that Ortega-Hernandez “was very specific that President Obama was the problem with the government” and that he was “the devil,” according to the court papers.
 
In 1995, a Colorado man was sentenced to 40 years in prison after opening fire on the White House with a semi-automatic rifle, spraying the north side of the mansion with some 30 bullets from the sidewalk.
 
He was convicted of trying to assassinate President Bill Clinton. He was tackled by tourists as he tried to reload his weapon and the incident led to tighter security around the White House complex.
 

 

Date created : 2011-11-17

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