UPDATE: Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, Accused White House Shooter, Charged With Attempted Assassination Of President; Obama Allegedly Described By Suspect As ‘The Devil’ And The ‘Anti-Christ’ — A Person Who Needed To Be Killed
Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez has been charged by the FBI with attempting to assassinate President Obama by firing repeated rounds from a car at the White House after dark and then fleeing the Veterans Day shooting scene in Washington.
Ortega-Hernandez, 21, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, also is known as Oscar Ramiro Ortega. He was arrested in western Pennsylvania on Wednesday and made a preliminary court appearance in Pittsburgh yesterday. The case against him was filed in Washington, and he’ll be returned there to face the charges. (Demonstrating that it’s a small world and that judges have overlapping duties and encounter cases of all types, the arrest warrant for Ortega-Hernandez was issued by the same U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Columbia who issued the seizure warrants in the August 2008 AdSurfDaily Ponzi case. Meanwhile, the U.S. Secret Service is involved in the Ortega-Hernandez prosecution, as is the office of U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. The Secret Service and Machen’s office also are prosecuting the ASD case. )
An FBI agent who prepared the affidavit noted that investigators had found witnesses at the shooting scene — and also had interviewed Idaho witnesses who know Ortega-Hernandez. One witness, according to the affidavit, told investigators that the suspect had come to believe that the government was conspiring against him.
The same Idaho witness told investigators that Ortega-Hernandez wanted to “hurt” Obama and referred to him as “the anti-Christ.” Another witness, relating a conversation about Ortega-Hernandez, said that Ortega-Hernandez had been heard expressing that he “needed to kill” the President.
Yet another witness told investigators that Ortega-Hernandez claimed Obama was “the devil” and that that Ortega-Hernandez was “preparing for something” and would not stop “until it’s done.”
Ortega-Hernandez, according to the affidavit, told the witness that Obama “needed to be taken care of.”
Investigators said a witness told them that Ortega-Hernandez owned a black gun with a “huge butt” — and that the gun was missing from the bedroom of Ortega-Hernandez when he left Idaho last month driving a black Honda Accord. The gun was described by another witness as a black “AK-47-like gun” with a “scope-like thing” on top.
A witness in Washington observed shots being fired toward the White House “through the passenger-side window” of a dark car that had stopped in front of her. The car then sped away, according to the account of the witness in the affidavit. Another witness described hearing approximately eight sounds of a “popping noise” coming from the car and observing “puffs of air” coming from the passenger side.
Ironically, police found the car abandoned on the lawn of the U.S. Institute of Peace. A witness in that area said the operator of the car fled on foot after trying to restart it. Inside the car, a black Honda Accord in which Ortega-Hernandez was one of two registered owners, investigators found a Romanian Cugir SA semiautomatic assault rifle with a large scope, three magazines loaded with cartridges and “several additional boxes” of ammunition.
They also found a hooded jacket emblazoned with the letters “LA, ” a baseball bat, brass knuckles, and a sales receipt from a Walmart in Fairfax, Va. The receipt was dated Nov. 11 — the day of the shooting — at “approximately” 5 p.m. Investigators went to Walmart and retrieved the surveillance video, which revealed Ortega-Hernandez had been inside the store wearing the “LA” jacket at roughly 5 p.m., according to the affidavit.
Authorities did not describe what Ortega-Hernandez had purchased at Walmart.
Investigators discovered that police in Arlington County, Va., had encountered Ortega-Hernandez and his car about six hours earlier — at 11 a.m. — after receiving a report about a suspicious person. Arlington police recorded the plate number of the Honda Accord and took photos of Ortega-Hernandez.
Although Arlington officers sought permission to search the car, Ortega-Hernandez refused, the FBI said in the affidavit.
Six hours later, Ortega-Hernandez was at the Walmart — and four-plus hours after that, he was opening fire at the White House after dark and speeding away, according to the affidavit. Sunset in Washington on Nov. 11 occurred at approximately 4:57 p.m. ET. The shots rang out at approximately 9:04 p.m., according to the affidavit.
Investigators found nine spent shell casings in the car, according to the affidavit. Because Ortega-Hernandez apparently was wearing the “LA” attire prior to his alleged 5 p.m. Walmart visit, it seems possible that one part of the ongoing probe will focus on what he purchased at the store and what he did for the next four-plus hours before opening fire.
Investigators found “several confirmed bullet impact points” at or above the second story of the White House, according to the affidavit. The First Family’s living quarters are on the second and third stories.
Although the President was not home at the time of the shooting, the White House is occupied around the clock. Whether other members of the First Family were home is unclear. What is clear is that investigators believe Ortega-Hernandez had contempt for the government in general and Obama in specific — and opened fire on the White House from an automobile and made sure he had plenty of ammunition and a means of getting away
Two assistant U.S. Attorneys from Machen’s office supervised the preparation of the documents that led to the issuance of the arrest warrant for Ortega-Hernandez. The FBI agent who prepared the affidavit has more than 15 years’ experience in law enforcement and was assisted in the early hours of the probe by the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Park Police and other agencies, according to the affidavit.