Nov 162011
Authors: Alexa Vaughn Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secret Service said a suspect potentially tied to a shooting incident near the White House on Friday has been arrested in Pennsylvania.

Secret Service officials said they are not sure yet whether the shots Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez allegedly fired near the White House on Friday night matched the bullets they found at the White House on Tuesday.

But whoever did fire at the presidential mansion hit a ballistic glass window on the first family’s residential level hard enough to crack it and another spot on the exterior of the White House on the White House’s south side, which includes the Oval Office. The Secret Service would not elaborate where on the exterior of the White House it hit. President Barack Obama and the rest of his family were not there during the incident.

The timing, source and motivation for the White House shooting are still under investigation. But witnesses reported hearing gunshots about 700 yards south of the White House on the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue at around 9:30 p.m. EST Friday.

The Secret Service said that within five minutes of the report, officers found a vehicle with an assault rifle in it a few blocks away near the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, which leads to Arlington, Va. A police car and helicopter search for Ortega-Hernandez around Washington and nearby Virginia followed.

No bullets or bullet holes were immediately found on Friday night.

Arlington County police said Ortega-Hernandez had been stopped Friday morning in north Arlington after a citizen called in a report of a suspicious person. When police stopped Ortega-Hernandez, he was on foot and had an out of state address, but police had no cause to detain him.

Ortega-Hernandez has several tattoos: three dots on his right hand, “Ortega” on his upper back, and the words “Israel” on the left side of his neck, according to police photos. In a picture released by the U.S. Park Police, he has a thick beard, blue beanie and wears a jacket covered with black and white “LA” logos.

Ortega-Hernandez is from Idaho Falls, Idaho, where his family reported him missing on Oct. 31, according to Joelyn Hansen, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Falls Police Department. Ortega-Hernandez has racked up 18 citations in Idaho related to theft, drug paraphernalia possession, domestic abuse, underage drinking, numerous driving violations, and, most recently, failure to affix a tag to his dog’s collar, according to the state of Idaho’s online citation database. He has a criminal record in three states, according to Hansen.

A spokesman for the Secret Service, Edwin Donovan, declined to answer additional questions about how long it took security personnel to discover the White House had been fired upon.

 Posted by at 6:16 pm

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