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White House Shooting Suspect Reportedly Hates Obama, Washington

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who is in custody for allegedly firing shots toward the White House last week, "hates the president, he hates Washington, he hates society," a law enforcement official tells The Washington Post.

CBS News, also citing unnamed sources, reports they say "Ortega-Hernandez was not on the radar of the Secret Service before Friday's shooting. But investigators believe he may have targeted the White House due to a hatred of President Obama."

No one was injured in the Friday evening incident. The president and first lady were not there. Several shots were fired and one bullet reportedly struck a window on the south side of the mansion. It did not penetrate the protective glass. Ortega-Hernandez, 21-years-old and said to be from Idaho Falls, Idaho, was arrested Wednesday in Indiana, Pa.

According to The Associated Press, Ortega-Hernandez has a court appearance today in Pittsburgh. The wire service adds that:

"Authorities are investigating the man's mental health and say there are indications he believed attacking the White House was part of a personal mission from God, according to a law enforcement official who spoke with The Associated Press. There are also indications the man had become obsessed with Obama and the White House, according to two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing."

In Idaho Falls, LocalNews8.com reports that a local computer consultant, Monte McCall, says he spoke with Ortega-Hernandez in July and that the young man referred to President Obama as "the antichrist."

The Post adds that as authorities investigated what Ortega-Hernandez might have been doing in Washington, "investigators searched the Occupy D.C. campground near the White House." But "three law enforcement officials familiar with the case" tell the Post that no connection has been found between Ortega-Hernandez and the protesters.

According to the Idaho Statesman:

"Ortega-Hernandez's family in Idaho Falls had reported him missing on Oct. 31, according to Joelyn Hansen, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Falls Police Department.

"Ortega-Hernandez has racked up 18 citations in Idaho related to theft, drug paraphernalia possession, domestic abuse, underage drinking, numerous driving violations and, most recently, failure to affix a tag to his dog's collar, according to the state of Idaho's online citation database. He has a criminal record in three states, according to Hansen."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.