Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Man arrested in White House shooting incident

A man wanted in connection with a White House shooting incident was arrested Wednesday in western Pennsylvania, the U.S. Secret Service announced.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police, was allegedly involved in a shooting Friday night that may be responsible for two bullets found at the White House.

One bullet hit a window and was stopped by bulletproof glass, and another was found on the White House exterior, the Secret Service said. Both bullets were found Tuesday.

Lt. Brad Shields of the Pennsylvania State Police said a tip came in Wednesday morning that the man sought by federal authorities in the Washington shooting was at a Hampton Inn in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

According to Shields, the man had stayed at the hotel with an unspecified number of companions for a few days before the Friday shooting incident.

When the man returned to the hotel on Wednesday, an unidentified staff member recognized him from a photo provided by authorities and notified police, Shields told a news conference. The man was arrested without any resistance in the hotel lobby, asking why he was being detained, Shields said.

A bag he was carrying was checked by sniffer dogs, but no weapons were found, according to Shields.

The man was being questioned by state police and Secret Service agents, Shields said. An initial federal court appearance will take place Wednesday night or Thursday in either Pittsburgh or Johnstown, Pennsylvania, he said.

In Idaho Falls, Idaho, police spokesperson Joelyn Hansen said the man -- identified as Oscar Ramiro Ortega -- was reported missing October 31. Hansen said Ortega is the same man that the Secret Service is calling Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez.

The bullets were found on the south side of the White House, the official told CNN.

"A round was stopped by ballistic glass behind the historic exterior glass. One additional round has been found on the exterior of the White House. This damage has not been conclusively connected to Friday's incident, and an assessment of the exterior of the White House is ongoing," a Secret Service statement said.

Last Friday night at about 9 p.m., U.S. Park Police and the Secret Service investigated after hearing shots fired about 700 to 800 yards from the White House, the Secret Service statement said.

Within five minutes, officers located a vehicle in the 2300 block of Constitution Avenue. "Evidence in the vehicle led to U.S. Park Police obtaining an arrest warrant for Oscar Ortega-Hernandez," described as a 21-year-old Hispanic male, 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds.

A weapon registered to Ortega-Hernandez was found in the car, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation.

The Secret Service interviewed people who know Ortega-Hernandez, and determined he had a "direction of interest toward the president and the White House" -- a term that does not suggest a direct specific threat.

The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Metropolitan Police Department all took part in the search for Ortega-Hernandez, officials said.

"There's always an outer perimeter and this was on the very outer perimeter of our security," the Secret Service official said. "The gun and car were found within several minutes. We have a lot of security -- a lot of layered security down there and the security worked."

The law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said when shots were heard Friday night, there were reports of tires screeching and cars racing.

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