WASHINGTON – A 23-year-old Maryland man is in custody after he climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night and was swiftly apprehended on the North Lawn by uniformed Secret Service agents and their dogs.
The incident came about a month after a previous White House fence jumper carrying a knife sprinted across the same lawn, past armed uniformed agents and entered the mansion before he was felled in the ceremonial East Room and taken into custody.
That embarrassing Sept. 19 incident preceded the disclosure of other serious Secret Service breaches in security for President Barack Obama and ultimately led to Julia Pierson’s resignation as director of the agency after 18 months on the job.
Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said a man he identified as Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, climbed the north fence line at about 7:16 p.m. and was taken into custody immediately by uniformed agents and K-9 teams that constantly patrol the grounds.
Obama was at the White House at the time of Wednesday’s incident.
Adesanya was unarmed when he was arrested, Leary said. Charges were pending.
Two dogs were taken to a veterinarian for injuries sustained during the incident, Leary added.
Video of the incident recorded by TV news cameras shows a man in white shorts on the lawn just inside the fence. The man lifts his shirt as if to show that he is unarmed, then is seen kicking and punching two Secret Service dogs that were released on him.
Adesanya was taken to a local hospital, Leary said, without elaboration.
After Pierson resigned, an agent who once led Obama’s protective detail came out of retirement to lead the Secret Service until Obama names a new director, pending the completion of internal and independent reviews of agency practices.
This week, a federal judge delayed the arraignment of Omar Gonzalez, the individual charged in September’s fence-jumping incident, because of questions about his mental fitness to stand trial.
Gonzalez has been indicted on several charges, including of carrying a knife into the White House and assaulting two Secret Service officers.
The latest security breach occurred the same day that a gunman went on a rampage in Ottawa.