Washington, Jan 18: A man accused of firing shots at the White House in November has been formally charged with attempting to assassinate US President Barack Obama, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday.
A preliminary psychiatric evaluation in December found Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, 21, competent to stand trial, but federal prosecutors are asking for more extensive tests to ensure he can be held legally liable.
“On or about November 11, 2011, in the District of Columbia, the defendant, Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, did knowingly attempt to kill the President of the United States, Barack Obama,” the indictment said.
The federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 17-count indictment today against the suspect, who has been in custody since his arrest on November 16.
In addition to the attempted assassination charge, Ortega-Hernandez of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was charged with assaulting federal officers with a deadly weapon, injuring property of the United States, and related firearms charges. Ortega-Hernandez was arrested near Pennsylvania's border with Indiana, some 300 miles (480 kilometers) from the US capital.
Authorities had located an abandoned vehicle in Washington registered to him containing a semi-automatic assault rifle “with a large scope mounted on the top portion of the weapon,” along with ammunition and nine spent shell casings.
He is accused of taking several shots at the residential area of the White House, at least one of which struck the mansion. He faces life in prison if convicted.