iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — After Omar Gonzalez of Texas scaled the north fence and entered the White House Friday, the Secret Service immediately began clamping down on security protocols.
But this is hardly the first time an intruder has managed to gain access to the White House grounds, one of the most historic and seemingly secure places in the world.
Here’s a look back at some of the most egregious breaches at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:
July 1976: Chester Plummer
Armed with a 3-foot-long metal pipe, Chester Plummer, 30, climbed the 8-foot fence and advanced toward the White House in July 1976. After reportedly menacing a Secret Security agent, he was shot in the chest and died 90 minutes later.
October 1978: Anthony Henry
Dressed in a white karate uniform, Anthony Henry, 35, scaled the fence and charged the North Portico in an attempt to convince President Carter to remove the phrase “In God we trust” from U.S. currency. When officers approached, Henry adopted a karate stance and whipped a knife out of the Bible he was carrying. He slashed one officer in the face and another in the arm before being wrestled to the ground.
January 1985: Robert Latta
Just a few hours before President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, Robert Latta, 45, sauntered into the White House with the Marine Corps band and wandered around for about 15 minutes before being apprehended by Secret Service.
September 1994: Frank Eugene Corder
In September 1994, during President Clinton’s first term, former Army mechanic Frank Eugene Corder allegedly stole a single-engine Cessna airplane and crashed it on the South Lawn. The plane skidded across the lawn and slammed into a wall just below the presidential bedroom. Corder, reportedly intoxicated at the time, was the sole fatality.
October 1994: Francisco Martin Duran
About a month later, Francisco Martin Duran, 26, pulled a rifle from under his trench coat and opened fire, unleashing at least 29 rounds at the White House, where President Clinton was watching football. When he stopped to reload, passersby managed to tackle and subdue him. Duran later claimed he was attempting to save the world from an alien “mist.” He was convicted of attempted assassination and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
February 2001: Robert Pickett
In February 2001, Robert Pickett, a former IRS accountant with a history of mental illness, allegedly fired several shots outside the White House and then refused to drop his weapon, spurring a tense 10-minute standoff that ended when a Secret Service agent shot him in the knee. Just 700 feet away, President Bush was exercising in his private residence. Pickett, 47, was eventually sent to a Bureau of Prisons psychiatric hospital for treatment.
January 2005: Lowell Timmers
Angry that his daughter’s undocumented fiancé could be deported, Lowell Timmers, 54, threatened to blow up his van near the White House in January 2005. “I want my son, and I’m not leaving until my son-in-law is out of jail,” Timmers reportedly told authorities during the ensuing four-and-a-half-hour standoff. He eventually surrendered peacefully, and later pled guilty to making a false explosive threat. He told the court, however, that he couldn’t “rule out” the possibility that he would do it again, but “the odds of that happening are 800 million billion [sic] to one.”
November 2009: Tareq and Michaele Salahi
In what may have been the most glamorous breach in White House history, aspiring reality stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi managed to slip through two security checkpoints and into a White House state dinner, where they mingled with the president, vice president and chief of staff in November 2009. The pair, who publicly maintained they had been invited to the event, pled the Fifth at a congressional hearing examining the breach.
November 2011: Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez
Apparently fearful of an impending apocalypse, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez fired at least eight rounds at the White House from the window of his Honda Accord, striking the building several times and severely damaging its façade. President Obama, whom Ortega, 23, reportedly called “the anti-Christ,” was away at the time. Ortega fled the scene and was apprehended in a hotel room in Pennsylvania five days later. He eventually pled guilty to firing an assault weapon at the White House and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Authorities agreed to drop an assassination charge as part of a plea deal.
June 2013: Joseph Clifford Reel
In June 2013, Joseph Clifford Reel, 33, rigged his driverless Jeep to crash into the White House security gate, hoping it would create diversion and allow him to paint a “don’t tread on me” sign on an exterior wall of the White House. According to prosecutors, the Jeep had two machetes as well as hundreds of bullets and eight knives. No one was injured in the crash, and Reel was apprehended with a can of spray paint in the courtyard. In a manifesto posted online, Reel slammed the Obama administration, saying “Every once in a while, bad people take over. .?.?. And every once in a while, regular people have to get up and say, ‘No.’?” Reel, who claimed he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nearly three years in prison.
But not all the security snafus at the White House have been so serious. In perhaps the most adorable security breach to date, a 2-year-old squeezed through the bars of the north fence last month, spurring a lockdown and delaying the president’s impending address to the nation.
“We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him,” a Secret Service spokesman said, ”but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on way with parents.”
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