A 21-year-old man suspected of firing shots near the White House on Veteran’s Day remained at large Monday as investigators continued digging into his background — including his record of arrests in at least three states, a police spokesman said.
Oscar Ramiro Ortega allegedly fired shots from a semiautomatic rifle while in a vehicle at 16th Street and Constitution Avenue NW about 9:30 p.m. Friday, then abandoned the vehicle and rifle in the 2300 block of Constitution and fled on foot.
U.S. Park Police have obtained an arrest warrant charging him with carrying a dangerous weapon, a felony.
Whether the alleged shooter had a specific target remains unclear, Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser said at a Monday news briefing. “We have not received any reports of any damage to any buildings or anything as a result of that firearm’s discharge,” he said.
Schlosser said Arlington County Police encountered Ortega while responding to a call about suspicious activity. Officers did not arrest Ortega, but did take a photograph of him that they have since given to Park Police. Schlosser said that incident occurred recently, but he did not know when.
Park Police officers also searched the Occupy DC camp in McPherson Square on Monday, Schlosser said, after callers said they had seen a man matching his description.
Schlosser said police have not linked Ortega to any radical organizations and are unsure of the motive for the gunfire.
“Specifically what he was aiming at, or not aiming at, is something that would be better addressed by interviewing him,” Schlosser said. “Otherwise, it’s just speculation.”
He said police have been in contact with relatives of Ortega as they continue trying to determine his whereabouts. Ortega’s criminal record, in Texas, Utah and Idaho, involves arrests for domestic violence, drug offenses, assault on a police officer and alcohol possession when he was under age 21, Schlosser said.
This item has been updated.
Post staff writer Katie Rogers contributed to this item.