Man Who Triggered Security Scare Outside White House Claimed to Have Component of Nuclear Weapon, Secret Service Says

The U.S. Secret Service says the man who triggered a security scare outside the White House Tuesday claimed to have a component of a nuclear weapon and warned it was a "threat to the president."

The man had had previous run-ins with the Secret Service and had previously threatened the life of President Barack Obama, according to an affidavit submitted by a federal investigator.

Jean-Paul Gamarra, 40, whom the feds said does not have a fixed address, was arrested in Lafayette Park near the White House security fence Tuesday.

"Gamarra was asked if he had a bomb with him and Gamarra said no, he had a component to launch a nuclear weapon," according to the investigator. "Gamarra said he was not there to harm President Trump."

During the incident, the North Lawn of the White House was evacuated about 10:30 a.m., and journalists were held in the briefing room, as the Secret Service investigated a suspicious package near White House grounds. 

Gamarra was already known to the Secret Service, according to court filings. He walked into a Long Island, New York, hospital on Feb. 13, 2014, and said he was going to kill President Barack Obama, according to an investigator: "After being transferred for a psychiatric evaluation, Gamarra reaffirmed his intent to kill President Obama. Gamarra stated he made the threat to gain attention from federal authorities." 

According to the Secret Service, Gamarra was spotted and interviewed in January 2015 when he was seen "acting suspiciously" in Lafayette Park. 

A judge has ordered Gamarra to undergo a mental screening. He is next due in court April 4.

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