The suspect identified as 19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula faces multiple charges, including threatening to kill, kidnap or injure a president.
A teenage ‘Nazi admirer’ has been arrested for allegedly threatening to kill or harm US President Joe Biden after he crashed a U-Haul truck into a security barrier near the White House.
The suspect identified as Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, began waving a Nazi flag after crashing his truck outside Lafayette Park just before 10 p.m. (0200 GMT) on Monday.
No one was injured in the accident. No explosives or weapons were found in the truck or on Kandula believed to be of Indian origin.
Biden was briefed on the crash Tuesday morning by the Secret Service and Park Police, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “He’s relieved no one was hurt last night,” she said.
Television footage showed a red and black swastika banner that was found during a police search of the truck.
A witness, Chris Zaboji, said the driver crashed into the barrier at least twice. Zaboji, a 25-year-old driver who lives in Washington, was finishing a run near Lafayette Square when he heard the sound of the U-Haul truck hitting the barrier. He said he took out his phone and captured the moment the truck hit the barrier again before he heard sirens approaching.
“When the van backed up and hit it again, I decided I wanted to get out of there,” he said.
Admired the Nazis
Kandula later told Secret Service agents that he flew in from St. Louis one-way that night after months of planning.
He wanted to “go to the White House, take power, and be in charge of the nation,” and he said he would “kill the president, if that’s what I have to do,” the charges state.
Prosecutors have brought several counts against Kandula, including “assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, threatening to kill/kidnap/injure a president, vice president or family member, destruction of federal property and trespassing.”
The 19-year-old, from the St Louis suburb of Chesterfield, Missouri, said he bought the flag online because he admired the Nazis’ “great history” as well as their “authoritative nature.” , their eugenics and their unique world order”. .”
Kandula rented the U-Haul in Herndon, Va., and had a valid contract in his own name, the company said. People can rent a truck from U-Haul at 18, and there were no red flags on his rental record that would have prevented the contract, according to U-Haul.
No attorney was listed for Kandula in court records, several phone numbers listed under his last name in public records were out of service.
Lafayette Square offers perhaps the best view of the White House available to the public, and Kandula sent several people running when he drove down the sidewalk to reach the barrier.
The square has also long been one of the most important event venues in the country. The park was closed for nearly a year after federal authorities fenced off the area at the height of nationwide protests against police following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but it reopened in May 2021.