Bloomberg News

Suspect in Shooting Near White House Held, Authorities Say

November 16, 2011

(Updates with suspect photographed, tip that led to arrest beginning in sixth paragraph.)

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- A man suspected of firing shots that hit the White House has been arrested in Pennsylvania, a U.S. Secret Service spokesman said.

The 21-year-old man, identified as Oscar Ramiro Ortega- Hernandez was taken into custody by state police at a hotel near Indiana, Pennsylvania, on a warrant issued in Washington, Secret Service spokesman Edwin M. Donovan said in a statement.

A task force of federal and local law enforcement agencies had been searching for the gunman who fired shots that hit the White House during an incident last week on a street near the executive mansion.

Two bullets were discovered yesterday on White House grounds, one of which hit ballistic glass in a window, Donovan said.

Donovan said in an earlier statement that the damage has “not been conclusively connected” to a report of shots fired the night of Nov. 11 on Constitution Avenue, less than 800 yards south of the White House. Police began looking for Ortega- Hernandez after discovering evidence in a car found abandoned a few blocks away from the White House shortly after the gunfire was reported.

President Barack Obama had already departed for a nine-day trip to Hawaii and Asia at the time of the shooting.

Stopped by Police

Police in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia, stopped Ortega earlier on Nov. 11 based on a report of suspicious activity, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. The Arlington officers had no basis to detain Ortega at the time and released him after photographing him, the official said.

Those pictures were later released by the U.S. Park Police after Ortega was linked to the shooting near the White House.

Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said in a telephone interview that the Secret Service received a telephone tip today from someone at the Pennsylvania hotel who recognized Ortega.

The Pittsburgh Secret Service field office asked for the help of Pennsylvania State Police, who arrested Ortega at the hotel.

Ogilvie wouldn’t say whether Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, or his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, were in the White House at the time of the shooting. Robinson resides at the executive mansion.

The White House press office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

--Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Don Frederick

To contact the reporters on this story: Kate Andersen Brower in Washington at kandersen7@bloomberg.net; Seth Stern in Washington at sstern14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva@bloomberg.net


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