Man who crashed U-Haul truck into security barriers near White House charged with threatening the president: What we know
The driver, 19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula of Chesterfield, Mo., is facing several charges, including threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the president, vice president or a family member.
The U.S. Secret Service said that a 19-year-old man who rammed a U-Haul truck into the security gate outside the White House on Monday night has been charged with threatening the president.
The driver, identified as Sai Varshith Kandula of Chesterfield, Mo., is facing several charges, including threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the president, vice president or a family member, the U.S. Park Police said. He also faces charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, trespassing, destruction of federal property and reckless operation of a vehicle.
Here’s what we know about the incident from original reporting and Yahoo’s trusted partners, including Reuters, CNN and others.
How it unfolded
The incident began just before 10 p.m., when the truck crashed into security barriers on the north side of Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., about a block from the White House. U.S. Park Police officers detained the driver and took him into custody.
There were no injuries to Secret Service or White House personnel, Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications for the Secret Service, said in a statement.
Chris Zaboji, an airline pilot who lives in Washington, told Reuters that he had just finished jogging on the National Mall and was walking home when he heard a loud crash. Zaboji said the truck struck the barrier at least twice.
"I looked back and saw that the U-Haul van had rammed into the barricade,” Zaboji said. “After I saw it rammed again I didn't want to be anywhere near the truck, and left."
Swastika flag recovered at the scene
Footage of the aftermath posted to social media showed a Park Police officer packing up several pieces of evidence from the truck, including a flag with what appears to be a swastika on it, a black backpack and a roll of silver duct tape. It also showed investigators using a remote-controlled robot to pry open the truck's rear door.
The truck was deemed safe, and a preliminary investigation revealed that the driver “may have intentionally struck” the security barriers at Lafayette Square, Guglielmi added in a tweet.
The nearby Hay-Adams Hotel was evacuated at the request of the Secret Service, a hotel employee told CNN.
The exact location of President Biden at the time of the incident was unclear. Biden met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the Oval Office hours earlier.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden was briefed on the incident by the Secret Service and U.S. Park Police on Monday morning.
"He's relieved that no one was injured last night and grateful to the agents and the law enforcement officer who responded so quickly," she said.
Security was beefed up after assault on the Capitol
After the deadly Jan. 6. 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, security was increased around federal buildings throughout Washington.
In April 2021, a 25-year-old man rammed his car into a barricade outside the Capitol, killing one Capitol Police officer and injuring another before he was shot and killed by police.
The driver, identified as Noah Green of Virginia, got out of the car with a knife and lunged at the officers, police said.
Lafayette Square itself was closed for nearly a year in 2020 and 2021, after authorities fenced off the area during protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.