The man accused of scaling the White House security fence and charging into the First Family’s home with a knife, also had two hatchets and a machete, as well as 800 rounds of ammunition in his vehicle nearby, prosecutors said at an initial hearing on Monday. And this isn’t the first time he’s been caught menacing the building.
In federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Mudd said that Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, was "a danger to the president,” and a judge ordered him held without bail until Oct. 1.
Gonzalez is accused of scaling the White House perimeter fence on Sept. 19, running across the lawn and entering the presidential mansion before federal agents stopped him. Obama and his family were away at the time. Gonzalez, of Copperas Cove, Texas, is facing charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.
After being arrested on Friday, investigators found 800 rounds of ammunition — both in boxes and magazines — in his vehicle, as well as two hatchets and a machete, Mudd said in court Monday.
Prosecutors also revealed that Gonzalez had been stopped on August 25 while walking along the south fence of the White House with a hatchet in his waistband, but he was not arrested.
And on July 19, after being spotted driving recklessly in a gray Ford Bronco, Gonzalez was charged in Wythe County, Virginia, with evading arrest and possession of a weapon after he was found in possession of numerous weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun, and map with the White House circled, prosecutors said.
The Army says Gonzalez served from 1997 until his discharge in 2003, and again from 2005 to December 2012, when he retired due to disability.
Earlier on Monday, a spokesman said President Obama is "concerned" about Friday's breach of the White House by a man with a knife, but continues to have "confidence" in the agency assigned to protect him and his family, officials said on Monday.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest revealed the president's feelings at a Monday press briefing. "(The president) did indicate his family lives in the White House and so he is obviously concerned," said Earnest. "At same time he has confidence in the Secret Service to do challenging work." He said that Obama also expressed confidence in a review officials are conducting to see if any changes in security protocols are needed.
Obama himself, at a quick and unrelated photo-op, said that he was “grateful for the sacrifices they (the Secret Service) make on my behalf and my family’s behalf.”
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has ordered increased surveillance and more officer patrols, and has begun an investigation into what went wrong. And the U.S. Secret Service is having preliminary discussions about setting up security screening checkpoints near public areas around the White House, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Sunday.