Most Read: Local

Post Now
Posted at 07:58 PM ET, 09/20/2011

White House fence-climber chased at gunpoint

A man who climbed the White House fence Tuesday evening and began racing across the lawn was seized by Secret Service officers with guns drawn, authorities said.

No injuries were reported in the incident, which occurred about 6:35 p.m. on the north side of the White House.

The man was not immediately identified and it was not clear why he climbed the fence or what he wanted.

The president was in New York at the t ime, according to his published schedule.

After climbing the fence, the man “took off running at full sprint,” said Secret Service spokesman Max Milien Jr. That, Milien said, enabled him to intrude a greater distance than in other such cases.

“He got a little farther,” Milien said. However, he said, the man heeded orders to stop.

The man complied with commands from officers of the Secret Service’s uniformed division, which provides security at the White house, Milien said. He said he understood that “weapons were drawn” by the officers.

The sidewalk in front of the White House typically draws many tourists and pedestrians throughout the day. The number who may have seen the drama on the lawn was not known, however.

The man dropped a backpack just outside the fence before climbing, Milien said. Normal procedure in such situations is to evacuate an area around the object.

. The sidewalk and at least part of Lafayette Square, which is across the street, were cleared, according to an Associated Press account.

Nothing harmful was found in the backpack, Milien said.

He said the man was arrested on a charge of unlawful entry, and was taken to a D.C. police facility for processing.

The incident came seven weeks after another case in which a man who had a backpack was taken into custody on the lawn after climbing the fence. There was no indication Tuesday night of any connection between the incidents.

This story has been updated.

By and  |  07:58 PM ET, 09/20/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company