Alleged White House Shooter Charged with Trying to Assassinate Obama

Posted November 17th, 2011 at 9:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A 21-year-old man accused of firing shots at the White House last week has been charged with attempting to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama or his staff.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez made his first federal court appearance Thursday in Pennsylvania. He was detained in a hotel in the state just one day earlier after someone recognized his picture.

The suspect will be sent back to Washington to face the charge. If convicted, he could get life in prison.

News reports indicate Ortega-Hernandez may have harbored a dislike of or obsession with President Obama.

The U.S. Secret Service, which protects the president and other top officials, says two bullets hit the White House, including one they say broke a window but was stopped by a layer of bulletproof glass.

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, were not home during the shooting incident last Friday. They were in California before heading to Hawaii, where Mr. Obama hosted an Asia-Pacific economic summit.

Authorities began pursuing Ortega-Hernandez after linking him to an abandoned car found Friday with a weapon in it. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with an arrest record in three U.S. states and several tattoos, including the word “Israel” on his neck. His family had reported him missing October 31.

Separately, officials say Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is now receiving Secret Service protection.

The Service Service says the Cain campaign made the request and that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano granted the request, in consultation with congressional leaders.

It was not clear what prompted the request. There was no comment from campaign officials.

In May 2007, Mr. Obama, who was then a U.S. senator, received his Secret Service detail, more than a year before he captured the Democratic nomination.