An Ohio man who rigged his Jeep Patriot to ram the White House gates has told authorities that he planned to spray paint the "don'' tread on me" snake somewhere on the White House complex or "die trying," according to court documents released today.
Photos of Joseph Reel's wrecked car and the 200 rounds of ammunition, knives, machetes and other items found in his car were released today along with details of Reel's plan to spray graffiti on the White House.
Reel, 32, of Kettering, Ohio, has been charged with destruction of property and is being held in federal custody.
The suspect aimed his car at the White House gates and a security post manned by uniformed Secret Service officers shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday and sent it charging at a speed of 35 to 40 mph, according to court documents.
After the car crashed into a steel bike rack and a security bollard, officers found that the vehicle had no driver. A wooden block was secured to the gas pedal by Velcro and the steering wheel was strapped into place.
The Secret Service deployed the Emergency Response Team and the Counter Sniper Team, as well as the Explosives Ordinance Disposal Team.
Reel, meanwhile set off down 17th Street on a bicycle where he was encountered by a Secret Service officer, the court papers state. The officer asked Reel what he was doing and he replied he was "trying to see what was going on."
Officers told him to move out of the area, but Reel rode his bicycle 25 feet, set it down and proceeded to climb the fence outside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, according to affidavits.
Reel, who was wearing a camouflage T-shirt, was pursued through the grounds after he ignored orders from two officers to stop and was quickly apprehended carrying a can of spray paint wrapped in tape.
He told officers he intended to paint the "don't tread on me snake somewhere on the complex," the affidavit states.
A search of his car found eight knives, two machetes and hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a hand held spotting scope that he told officers he used to surveil the White House grounds, the court document states.
They also found that Reel was carrying hidden in his fingerless gloves a handcuff key, the paperwork states.
In a YouTube video that Reel recorded, he vows that, "I'm just going to walk right up to their front door, and I'm going to spray paint the 'Don't Tread on Me' snake on it. Or I'm going to die trying."
In the angry 8.5 minute long video, Reel states that the "voice of the 'Tea Party: and 'End Government Waste and Abuse' was bullied, stifled, and destroyed by the IRS, while at the same time, the voice of 'free stuff if you vote for me' why, that voice was expedited by the IRS and allowed to flourish."
He also talks about government spying and ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security.
More ominously, Reel calls on others to "round up a few of your most trusted friends to whom you would trust your life to, to bring your favorite weapons – the ones you're most comfortable with, the ones that you're skilled with, and arrive in your vehicles- your favorite vehicles that've been modified for combat."
After securing a search warrant for his Ohio home, law enforcement officers found numerous guns, a spear, a sword, a baseball bat with affixed spikes, two ballistic vests, a gas mask and a metal face shield, he document states.