White House Fence-Jumper Omar Gonzalez Had 800 Rounds of Ammunition, Authorities Say | NBC4 Washington

White House Fence-Jumper Omar Gonzalez Had 800 Rounds of Ammunition, Authorities Say

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    Sources tell News4's Jackie Bensen the White House fence-jumper should have been on the Secret Service's watch list following an incident last month when he was found with a hatchet near the presidential residence. (Published Monday, Sept. 22, 2014)

    The 42-year-old Army veteran who scaled the White House fence Friday and got through the presidential residence's front doors had 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, prosecutors said in court Monday.

    Omar J. Gonzalez was ordered held without bond Monday, pending an Oct. 1 detention hearing, after prosecutors argued he was a flight risk -- he is facing felony weapons charges in Wythe County, Virginia.

    Federal prosecutor said Monday in court that Gonzalez had had a map with the White House circled during that incident. 

    Authorities say Gonzalez, carrying a small folding knife, climbed a White House fence, ran across the lawn and entered the building before agents stopped him around 7:20 p.m. last Friday. The first family was away from the White House at the time.

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    Gonzalez was charged Saturday with unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. The charge, a federal offense, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

    Prosecutors said Monday that nearly three weeks earlier, Gonzales was stopped while walking along the south fence of the White House on Aug. 25. He had a hatchet in his rear waistband.

    Gonzalez let police search his car at 17th Street and New York Avenue NW, and in it, authorities found camping gear and two dogs, but no ammunition. He was not arrested.

    Secret Service sources told News4 at that point, Gonzalez should have been on their radar.

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    On Friday, the day he allegedly jumped the fence, he again allowed his car to be searched.

    Authorities say they found 800 rounds of ammunition, both in boxes and magazines, as well as two hatchets and a machete, NBC News' Kristen Welker reported.

    Gonzalez had served in the Army from 1997 until he was discharged in 2003, and then again from 2005 until he retired in December 2012.

    Gonzalez told Secret Service agents after Friday's arrest that he was "concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing" and needed to contact the president "so he could get word out to the people."

    Officials first said the fact that Gonzalez appeared to be unarmed may have been a factor in why agents at the scene didn't shoot or have their dogs pursue him before he made it inside.

    Jerry Murphy, whose mother was married to Gonzalez for several years, said Gonzalez suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and needs to be treated for it, not treated like a criminal. He said Gonzalez had been driving around the country and living out of his truck for the past couple of years, and that he always carries his knife.

    He said he doesn't believe Gonzalez intended to hurt anyone.

    Gonzalez's ex-wife, Samantha Bell, said she and Gonzalez married in 2006 and lived together in Copperas Cove, near Fort Hood, until she split up with him in 2010 because of his worsening mental condition.

    After his second tour in Iraq, Gonzalez began carrying a .45 on his hip at all times, and kept three or four rifles and shotguns behind the doors in their home, said Bell, who has remarried and now lives in southern Indiana.

    Less than 24 hours after Gonzalez's arrest, a second man was taken into custody after he drove up to a White House gate and refused to leave, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. Bomb technicians in full gear searched the vehicle as agents briefly shut down nearby streets.

    On Sunday, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary identified the man as Kevin Carr, 19, of Shamong, New Jersey.

    There was no indication the two incidents were connected. But they only intensified the scrutiny of the Secret Service, which is struggling to rehabilitate its image following a series of allegations of misconduct by agents in recent years, including agents on Obama's protective detail.

    Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said he had spoken with Secret Service Director Pierson and was encouraged she would ensure the agency would use the incident as a "learning opportunity to reduce the likelihood that something of this nature will happen again.''

    House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, was to meet with Pierson later Monday.