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Second White House Incident in as Many Days Raises Security Concerns

By    |   Monday, 22 Sep 2014 07:25 AM

A second White House incident in less than 24 hours resulted in another person being taken into custody over the weekend, The Associated Press reported.

Secret Service said 19-year-old Kevin Carr, of Shamong, New Jersey, drove up to a White House gate on Saturday and refused to leave. He was detained and bomb squad was called out to search his vehicle while nearby streets were shut down.

The attempted entry comes on the heels of Friday's security breach. That suspect, who's accused of scaling a fence and getting into the White House with a knife, is scheduled to have his initial federal court appearance on Monday.

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Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, is facing charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. The Army says Gonzalez served from 1997 until his discharge in 2003, and again from 2005 to December 2012, when he retired due to disability.

The Secret Service tightened their guard outside the White House after Friday's embarrassing breach in the security of one of the most closely protected buildings in the world. Gonzalez is accused of scaling the White House perimeter fence, running across the lawn, and entering the presidential mansion before agents stopped him.

President Barack Obama and his family were away at the time.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has ordered increased surveillance and more officer patrols, and has begun an investigation into what went wrong.

And the U.S. Secret Service is having preliminary discussions about setting up security screening checkpoints near public areas around the White House, a law enforcement official told the AP on Sunday. The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations by name.

The breach triggered a rare evacuation of much of the White House. Secret Service agents drew their weapons as they hurried White House staffers and journalists out of the West Wing through a side door.

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. But a criminal complaint issued late Friday revealed Gonzalez had a small folding knife with a 3 1/2-inch serrated blade with him at the time of his arrest.

Jerry Murphy, whose mother was married to Gonzalez for several years, said Gonzalez suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and needs treatment, not to be 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.

Samantha Bell, Gonzalez's ex-wife, 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 remarried and now lives in southern Indiana.

There were no indications the two White House 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 detail.

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A second White House incident in less than 24 hours resulted in another person being taken into custody over the weekend, The Associated Press reported.
second, white house, incident
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2014-25-22
Monday, 22 Sep 2014 07:25 AM
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