Suspected gunman charged with assassination attempt on Obama

 

A man was charged last night with trying to assassinate President Barack Obama and members of his staff.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez was arrested in Pennsylvania after gunshots heard close to the White House last Friday evening. Officials said in a court filing that the 21-year-old had come to Washington DC after telling friends in Idaho that he considered Mr Obama to be the "Anti-Christ" and felt compelled to kill him.

The attempted-assassination charge could carry a life sentence. Mr Ortega-Hernandez, inset, was picked up on Wednesday after a tip-off from a hotel worker who recognised him from pictures in a newspaper. After being brought to a federal court in Pittsburgh last night, he was told most of the proceedings would take place in Washington DC. Prosecutors claim he came to the capital after becoming "convinced the federal government is conspiring against him" and growing "increasingly more agitated".

There was mystery in Washington for days about what had or had not occurred on Friday when witnesses heard shots somewhere to the south of the White House and tyres squealing. Agents found a car abandoned nearby. An automatic rifle was inside with nine spent shell casings.

The case became all the more urgent on Tuesday when agents found bullet damage to one of the White House windows. A second bullet was also found in the grounds.

The case is likely to trigger an urgent review of security. Mr Obama and the First Lady were in California at the time of the shooting. The last time a bullet hit the White House was in 1994 when Bill Clinton was President.

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