The Washington Post

Judge sentences Idaho man to 25 years for shooting at White House

An Idaho man was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday for opening fire on the White House in November 2011.

Oscar R. Ortega-Hernandez, 23, pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington in September to using a semi-automatic assault rifle to fire at least eight rounds at the second and third floors of the White House.

No one was injured, but federal investigators recovered bullets from the window frame of the Truman Balcony. Another bullet struck the roof in close proximity to where Secret Service officers were on duty.

Before the shooting, court documents say Ortega-Hernandez told acquaintances that he “needed to kill” the president, and he recorded videos of himself in which he called for a revolution. He then drove more than 2,000 miles from his home in Idaho Falls to Washington.

“He was motivated by hatred for the president and the desire to start a revolution against the federal government,” Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement after the sentencing by U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer. “We are very fortunate that his bullets narrowly missed the U.S. Secret Service officers guarding the White House that night.

The judge also ordered Ortega-Hernandez to pay about $94,000 in restitution to cover the cost of the damage to the White House.

Get updates on your area delivered via e-mail

Ann covers legal affairs in the District and Maryland for the Washington Post. Ann previously covered state government and politics in California, New Hampshire and Maryland. She joined the Post in 2005.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.