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Press Release

Missouri Resident Pleads Guilty to Attempted Attack on the White House with a Rented Truck

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – Sai Varshith Kandula, 20, of St. Louis, Missouri, pleaded guilty today in an attempted attack on the White House, on May 22, 2023, that included driving a U-Haul truck into the fence surrounding the building.  Kandula pleaded guilty to a charge of willful injury or depredation of property of the United States.

            The plea agreement was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Special Agent in Charge Matthew Stohler of the U.S. Secret Service Washington Field Office, FBI Special Agent in Charge Sanjay Virmani of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Counterterrorism Division, Chief Jessica M. Taylor of the U.S. Park Police, and Chief Pamela A. Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich scheduled sentencing for August 23, 2024.. Kandula is an Indian national who was born in Chandanagar, India. At the time of the incident, he was a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. with a green card.

            According to court documents, Kandula flew on a commercial flight from St. Louis, Missouri, to Washington D.C. in the afternoon of May 22, 2023, connecting through another airport on a one-way airline ticket. Kandula arrived at Dulles International Airport about 5:20 p.m., and rented a truck at 6:30 p.m. He stopped for food and gas, and then drove to Washington, D.C., where he crashed into the barriers protecting White House and President’s Park at 9:35 p.m. at the intersection of H Street, Northwest and 16th Street, Northwest. Kandula drove onto the sidewalk, sending pedestrians running from the scene. After striking the barriers, the truck backed up in reverse, then lurched forward, striking the metal barriers a second time. The second impact disabled the truck which began smoking from the engine compartment and leaking fluids.

            Kandula next exited the vehicle and went to the back of the truck. From a backpack he removed a flag, a three-by-five foot red-and-white banner with a Nazi Swastika in the center, and brandished it. U.S. Park Police and the U.S. Secret Service officers arrested Kandula at the scene and took him into custody.

            According to the plea agreement, at the time Kandula crashed the truck into the White House perimeter, he was attempting to gain access to the White House to seize political power. Kandula’s intent was to replace the democratically elected government with a dictatorship fueled by ideology of Nazi Germany and for himself to be put in charge of the United States. Kandula admitted to investigators that he would have arranged for the killing of the U.S. President and others if necessary to achieve his objective. His actions were calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion.

            Kandula’s actions caused $4,322 in damage to the National Park Service and over $50,000 in damage to U-Haul International. This amount included costs for repairing the metal bollard barriers to their original condition and ensuring structural soundness, oil and chemical removal, spill cleanup, and disposal of fluids from the crashed U-Haul, and the cost of the destroyed U-Haul truck.

            Kandula planned the attack for several weeks. Prior to renting the truck and crashing it on White House grounds, he made several attempts to gain access to vehicles or armed security guards. For example, on April 22, 2023, Kandula requested 25 armed guards and an armored convoy from a security company located in Virginia. On May 4, 2023, Kandula attempted to contact several other companies in  an attempt to rent a large commercial tractor-trailer truck, a dump truck, or another large truck. Kandula was unsuccessful in arraigning for security guards or a tractor-trailer truck or dump truck. Kandula had attempted to arrange for the services of these security guards and the use of large vehicles in order to carry out his offense against the U.S. Government.

            This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, the U.S. Park Police, and the MPD. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Schneider.



Updated May 13, 2024

Violent Crime