Service investigates after man jumps White House fence, reaches doors
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[September 20, 2014]
By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A man jumped over
the White House fence and made it to the front doors of the executive
mansion before being apprehended on Friday, sparking an evacuation
within the complex shortly after President Barack Obama departed for the
Omar J. Gonzales, a 42-year-old white male from Texas, made it
onto the grounds at 7:20 EDT, a U.S. Secret Service spokesman said.
Gonzales ignored commands to stop and was ultimately caught,
unarmed, just inside the North Portico doors of the White House, one
of the building's main entrances.
The intruder's ability to get so far on the grounds before being
apprehended is very unusual for a complex that is heavily guarded by
Secret Service officers and snipers. He was arrested and taken to a
nearby hospital for evaluation.
"The Secret Service will review the response to ensure that the
proper protocol was followed,” spokesman Ed Donovan said.
Donovan said the fact that Gonzales had made it to the doors was
"not acceptable to us and it’s going to be closely reviewed."
Obama and his daughters had left the White House earlier, departing
on the Marine One helicopter for Camp David, the presidential
retreat in nearby Maryland.
First lady Michelle Obama was also not at home, having traveled to
the retreat earlier, a spokeswoman said.
Armed Secret Service officers raced through the West Wing area of
the White House during the intrusion and ordered journalists and
staff members to evacuate.
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Media and staff members were allowed back in some time later but a
partial lockdown of the northwest side of the building remained in
place for a few hours.
Video showed the intruder running across the White House lawn toward
the president's residence.
The incident is the latest in a series of recent cases in which
members of the public have made it over or though the White House
gates, leading to lockdowns.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler, Bill Trott and
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