White House Shooter Arrested in PA

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on November 17, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, the accused White House shooter, was arrested on Wednesday by Pennsylvania state troopers. He is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday.

Investigators are still looking into the incident, including whether or not Ortega-Hernandez, 21, intentionally fired at the White House.

Secret Service officers heard the shots last Friday night. Both President Obama and the First Lady were not present at the time. Two bullets hit the mansion, and one even struck a window. The bullet was halted by ballistic glass, according to U.S. News. The shooter was on the street, about 700 or 800 yards away from the mansion.

After the shooting, investigators found an abandoned car with a semi-automatic rifle close by. Evidence in the vehicle led them to arrest Ortega-Hernandez.

Law enforcement officials indicate that Ortega-Hernandez may have believed he was on a mission from God when he fired the rounds. They also say that there is evidence that he was obsessed with Obama and the White House. They are investigating his mental health.

It's possible that Ortega-Hernandez could be found mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial depending on the investigators' findings. A person is deemed mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial if he is unable to understand the legal proceedings and assist in his own defense. A trial on the defendant's guilt or innocence won't take place until the defendant is found competent.

So just because the White House shooter was arrested, does not necessarily mean he will be immediately able to stand trial for his alleged crimes. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez is not even the first to try to take down the White House. There have been several other incidents: in 2001, a man fired shots outside the White House, and in 1994, a man flew a plane into the compound and hit a tree. That same year, Francisco Martin Duran fired 20 rounds at the White House, U.S. News reports.

Duran was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

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