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The intruder who sprinted across the White House lawn and was able to enter the North Portico doors had a knife, officials said Saturday as the Secret Service pledged a review of Friday night’s security breach and increased patrols.
Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, an Iraq war veteran, was arrested after he hopped over a fence at 7:20 p.m. and sprinted across the lawn before entering the North Portico doors. Officials initially said Gonzalez was unarmed, but a law enforcement official told NBC News Saturday that Gonzales had a four-inch folding knife on him when he was arrested. Army records show Gonzalez is an Iraq war veteran who served as a cavalry scout, and he served in Iraq from 2006 to 2008.
President Barack Obama and his family were not present at the time of the incident.
The Secret Service on Saturday was reviewing how Gonzalez was able to make it as far as he did, and said in a statement that “the location of Gonzalez's arrest is not acceptable.” Secret Service Director Julia Pierson increased security patrols and surveillance of the White House fence and ordered an investigation into what went wrong.
The White House said in a statement Saturday that “the President has full confidence in the Secret Service and is grateful to the men and women who day in and day out protect himself, his family and the White House.”
On Saturday another man, a 19-year-old from New Jersey, was arrested after he tried to drive past a barricaded entrance to the complex and refused to stop, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. The man, identified by a law enforcement official as Kevin Carr of Shamong, N.J., didn’t hit the barricades or cause any damage, but was arrested on a charge of unlawful entry. Streets surrounding the entrance at were briefly closed.
On Sept. 11 a man clad in Pokemon gear and carrying a plush doll of a character on the animated show jumped the White House fence and was arrested at gunpoint.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said the intrusion was "absolutely inexcusable" and he expected congressional hearings into the incident at one of the world's most heavily secured buildings. "This demands a full investigation, an investigation as to what happened, why it happened and what's being done to make sure it never happens again," he told "Fox News Sunday."
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