U.S. Park Police are searching for an Idaho man who discharged a rifle Friday night just south of the White House in the area of the National Mall. Police have been searching for Oscar Ramiro Ortega after the incident when reports of gunfire were reported on the National Mall by 16th Street and Constitution Ave.
Ortega’s car was found blocks away, abandoned, with a semi-automatc rifle stashed in it, and police confirmed Monday that shell casings were discovered in the car. He is believed to have fled from the scene.
“We’re not sure what his intentions were.” Park Police spokesman David Schlosser said. “We are going to need to speak with him about to find out just what he was thinking.”
Still officials are concerned, given that the shots were fired on an iconic stretch of real estate in the nation’s capital on a busy Friday night.
“This is a man who discharged a rifle in downtown DC, I think that speaks volumes, ” Schlosser said.
Sources tell ABC News that the Secret Service is trying to meet and interview Ortega’s family and friends in an effort to determine what his intentions were.
Sources familiar with the case say that because of the location — about a half-mile from the White House — authorities would like to know whether Ortega was targeting the President or White House personnel. They emphasized they do not yet know his motivations.
“We haven’t seen any reports from anybody or any sources that anything was struck by gunfire, no vehicles, no buildings, no trees,” Schlosser said.
Ortega has an extensive criminal record from his time in Idaho, according to a review of charges from Bonneville County, where Ortega lived ranging from alcohol possession to domestic violence charges. Police also said that he had criminal records in Texas and Utah and may have assaulted law enforcement officials.
There is currently a warrant out for Ortega’s arrest. The Park Police have released his picture:
Officials said that the pictures were taken by Arlington County Police when Ortega was stopped and questioned about suspicious activity. He was questioned by police before Friday’s gunfire. Officials with Arlington County have declined to discuss why they stopped Ortega.