It was around 10 p.m. when the Secret Service launched an alert on Monday after detecting that a driver was trying to access not once but twice through the security perimeter of Lafayette Square Park, which gives direct access to the White House. through the northern part of the US capital.
The car used to try to force their way into the compound was a mid-size truck from the well-known nationwide moving rental car company, U-HAUL. The authorities then arrested Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, from Chesterfield, a small town in St. Louis County, a western suburb located in the state of Missouri.
“I was in the area and I saw people running from the truck,” explained Benjamin Berger, a direct witness to the incident. “And then I thought it might have accidentally hit something, but then I saw the vehicle try to get back in and hit again a second time. So I kept running in the opposite direction,” Berger added to the media.
The preliminary investigation of the United States Park Police, jurisdiction of the scene, as well as the officers of the Uniform Division of the United States Secret Service, responded to the emergency at 1600 H Street in Northwest Washington, encountering a truck that intentionally tried to enter against the metal bollards outside the White House park.
Kandula was arrested by authorities, charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for committing a reckless operation with a motor vehicle; as well as death threats, kidnapping and inflicting damage on a president, vice president or members of his family; destruction of federal property and trespassing. Police sources say that, after driving to Lafayette Square, the detainee made threatening statements directed at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The police forces used the anti-bomb squad and a robot to open the truck and gain access to its interior, where they found neither weapons nor explosives. Among the driver’s belongings, however, there was a red flag with the Nazi symbol, according to law enforcement and the video published by the authorities, which has ignited the debate in recent hours on social networks.
Messages from disbelievers announcing: “Fasten your seatbelts, the great false flag is going to be blamed on white supremacy”, replying in a few hours and in a multitude of accounts accusations such as “Mock Nazi White House U-Haul”, turning into trend the conversation between conservatives who questioned the events. “Are you telling me that the driver immediately surrendered and was arrested, and the FBI put the flag in front of the truck to take the perfect photo?”, published a person close to Elon Musk, flooding the networks with doubts about the altercation.
“There were no injuries among Secret Service or White House personnel, and the cause and manner of the accident remain under investigation,” said Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service. FBI agents are also implicated in the investigation, although it appears that the detainee has no significant criminal record and does not appear on any watch list or have police records.
It is also one of the most protected areas of the city, as it is considered the heart of the Executive Branch, its epicenter being the presidential residence, surrounded by hundreds of offices occupied by thousands of public employees who work for the Administration. For that same reason, and at all hours of the day, thousands of tourists visit the city, as well as correspondents from all over the world, looking for a good camera shot of the White House, to report on what is happening in the United States.
Several neighboring hotels, such as the emblematic Hay-Adams or the renovated Sofitel Washington DC, were “evacuated” on Monday night shortly after the altercation, and the St Regis Hotel, also very close to the area, remained in a state of “isolation”. until it could be verified that the situation was out of danger.
The United States Secret Service arrested the driver of a truck that crashed near the White House on Monday night. According to the authorities, the detainee could have intentionally tried to hit the security barriers.
There were no injuries in the event, which occurred around 10:00 p.m. local time (02:00 GMT), a Secret Service spokesman confirmed to The New York Times. The authorities closed several streets around the residence of the US president, Joe Biden, while the investigation of the event continues, although they advanced that they have not found anything dangerous in the vehicle.
A witness cited by CBS said the driver had hit the barriers a second time after the initial collision. Another witness quoted by the Reuters agency assured that the authorities found a Nazi flag inside the vehicle.
Currently, the White House and its surroundings are fortified with fences that prevent access to anyone who is not authorized to approach the complex.