Omar Gonzalez Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Stemming from Intrusion on White House Grounds Defendant Climbed Fence, Ignored Repeated Efforts to Stop
WASHINGTON – Omar Gonzalez, 43, pled guilty today to charges stemming from an incident on Sept. 19, 2014, in which he climbed a fence and ran toward and into the White House while armed with a folding knife, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Kathy A. Michalko, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office, U.S. Secret Service.
Gonzalez, 42, formerly of Copperas Cove, Texas, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to two federal offenses: one count of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon, and one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees. He is to be sentenced on June 8, 2015 by the Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer.
The unlawful entry charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison, and the assault charge carries a statutory maximum of eight years. Both charges also carry potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range for the offenses is a prison term of twelve to 18 months and possible fines. Upon completion of his prison term, Gonzalez would be placed on supervised release. The parties have agreed to recommend to the Court that Gonzalez be prohibited from entering the District of Columbia for the duration of his supervision, except for court appearances and meetings with his attorney. The parties also will recommend that Gonzalez be required to participate in a psychiatric evaluation and cooperate fully with the Secret Service in any assessments they deem necessary to make of Gonzalez’s risk.
“We are pleased that Mr. Gonzalez has chosen to take responsibility for his incomprehensible decision to leap a fence and charge into the White House with a knife,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “He is lucky to be alive. Mr. Gonzalez faces significant prison time because of his crime, and at sentencing we anticipate that he will barred from entering the District of Columbia and required to undergo psychiatric treatment. We hope that this prosecution deters others in the future from taking any actions that threaten the First Family, the White House, and the public servants who work there.”
According to the government’s evidence, on Sept. 19, 2014, at about 7:19 p.m., Gonzalez climbed over the north fence of the White House. While he was climbing over the fence, officers with the U.S. Secret Service’s Uniformed Division ran towards him and repeatedly yelled at him to stop and get down. Gonzalez, however, ignored the commands and landed on the north grounds of the White House.
Moments later, after ignoring additional, repeated commands from uniformed officers to stop, Gonzalez went through the north doors of the White House, knocking a uniformed officer backwards. Another uniformed officer then tackled him inside the White House.
Gonzalez was searched and a folding knife, with a serrated blade that was over three and one-half inches long, was discovered in his right front pants pocket. After his arrest, he gave oral consent to search his vehicle, located on Constitution Avenue NW. The vehicle contained hundreds of rounds of ammunition, in boxes and in magazines, two hatchets, and a machete.
Gonzalez has been in custody since his arrest on Sept. 19, 2014.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Mudd and Thomas A. Gillice, of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.