Man scales White House fence, sprints across lawn

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 6:35 p.m. incident on the north side of the White House.

The man was not immediately identified, and it was not clear why he climbed the fence. President Obama was in New York at the time, according to his published schedule.

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

“I understand weapons [were] drawn,” he said.

Video footage shown on WRC-TV (Channel 4) showed the man prone, being handcuffed about 50 yards from the North Portico. An officer bending over him had what appeared to be an assault-style rifle slung over his back.

Just before climbing the fence, the man had dropped a backpack, Milien said, and the sidewalk and parts of the surrounding area were cleared, according to the Associated Press.

Nothing harmful was found in the backpack, Milien said. He said the man was arrested on a charge of unlawful entry.

The incident came seven weeks after a man with a backpack was taken into custody after climbing the fence. There was no indication of any connection between the incidents.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.


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