Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


White House shooter sentenced to 25 years

01 April 2014, 17:45

Washington - An Idaho man, who pleaded guilty to firing an assault rifle at the White House in 2011, striking the executive mansion more than half a dozen times, was sentenced on Monday to 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors initially charged Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama but agreed to drop the charge as part of a plea deal last year. Ortega-Hernandez instead pleaded guilty to two charges including damaging the home.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama were not home at the time of the shooting, and no one was injured. But prosecutors said Ortega-Hernandez, aged 23, jeopardised the lives of numerous others.

That included two other members of the Obama family who were at the home as well as White House employees and staff, Secret Service agents, tourists and bystanders.

Prosecutors said the bullets from Ortega-Hernandez's gun caused nearly $100 000 worth of damage to the home. They asked that Ortega-Hernandez spend 27 and a half  years in prison.


Ortega-Hernandez himself told the judge he was "deeply sorry" for putting people in danger when he drove by the White House on the night of 11 November 2011 and shot at the home from his car. He said that he "never meant to hurt anybody".

"I'm not a bad person. I made a huge mistake", he said before pleading for a 10-year sentence.

Ortega-Hernandez's lawyers argued that he was suffering from extreme depression and mental stress at the time of the shooting and was under the misguided belief that the end of the world was coming.

Ortega-Hernandez's lawyers said his motivation in firing a gun at the White House was to "call attention to what he believed was the coming apocalypse".

They said in written filings with the court that he rejected shooting at locations in Idaho Falls, where he is from, as well as at the Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty, because he didn't think they would attract enough attention.

One of Ortega-Hernandez's lawyers, Robert Feitel, stressed on Monday that his client never intended to assassinate the president. He noted that Ortega-Hernandez pleaded guilty instead to the charges of "injury to a dwelling and placing lives in jeopardy", as well as "using, carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence".

But prosecutor George Varghese called Ortega-Hernandez a "lone wolf domestic terrorist" during Monday's hearing, which lasted approximately two hours, and said he "placed countless lives in jeopardy.

" Varghese described how Ortega-Hernandez practiced using his gun in Idaho. He also detailed statements from friends and acquaintances who said Ortega-Hernandez referred to himself as "the modern day Jesus", railed against the government and said he wanted to kill Obama, calling him "the anti-Christ".

Ortega-Hernandez shook his head frequently as Varghese spoke.

Varghese also described in some detail where Ortega-Hernandez's shots had landed, including the roof and the windows of the White House's Treaty Room and Yellow Oval Room. Varghese's colleague, Alessio Evangelista, showed the judge a pane of glass with a bullet hole that was removed from the home.

A manhunt for Ortega-Hernandez after the shooting lasted five days before he was captured in Pennsylvania.

Judge Rosemary M Collyer told Ortega-Hernandez that his actions amounted to "very serious criminal conduct" regardless of whether he intended to assassinate the president.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Mudavadi given permission to join...

Musalia Mudavadi has been ghranted permission by his party to join the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
EACC officers raid Deputy Governo...

EACC officers raided the home of a Deputy Governor as theft case continues in court. Read more...