A 19-year-old Missouri man of Indian origin has been arrested after driving a truck into barriers near the White House in an apparent attempt to harm US President Joe Biden, according to officials. The driver, identified as Sai Varshith Kandula from Chesterfield, made incriminating statements indicating his intent to harm the President, leading to his apprehension by law enforcement.
Among the charges brought against Sai Varshith Kandula is the offense of “threatening to kill, kidnap, inflict harm on a president, vice president, or family member,” based on statements he made to multiple law enforcement agencies during the investigation.
President Joe Biden was present inside the White House during the incident, but Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that he was not immediately informed as the situation unfolded. Jean-Pierre stated, “He’s relieved that no one was injured last night and grateful to the agent and law enforcement officer who responded so quickly.” Biden had been engaged in discussions with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy regarding the debt limit at the time.
The Secret Service, along with the United States Park Police, the FBI, and the US Capitol Police, conducted a thorough investigation, including an interview with the suspect. Sai Varshith Kandula has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and trespassing.
Preliminary findings suggest that the teenager deliberately crashed the truck into the bollards outside Lafayette Park. Authorities at the scene seized a Nazi flag, adding to the unsettling nature of the incident. The suspect also made threatening statements about the White House, but law enforcement acted swiftly to detain him. Thankfully, no weapons or explosives were found in the truck.
According to Anthony Guglielmi, the Chief of Communications for the Secret Service, no Secret Service or White House personnel sustained injuries during the incident. The cause and motive behind the crash are still under investigation. Washington DC police later confirmed the safety of the truck, stating that the “preliminary investigation reveals the driver may have intentionally struck the security barriers.”
The incident serves as a reminder of the constant vigilance required to safeguard the White House and its occupants from potential threats. Law enforcement agencies continue to prioritize the security of the President and other key figures, working diligently to prevent any harm or disruption to the democratic process.