White House Shooting Suspect Arrested

Authorities feared Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez was a threat to the president.

ByABC News
November 15, 2011, 9:10 PM

Nov. 16, 2011 — -- A 21-year-old Idaho man suspected of firing a semi-automatic rifle at the White House was arrested today, authorities said.

"On Wednesday afternoon at approximately 12:35 p.m. EST, based on information generated by Secret Service agents from the Pittsburgh Field Office, Pennsylvania State Police Troop A located and arrested Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez at a hotel near Indiana, Pa.," according to a statement from Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Edwin Donovan.

Donovan said that Ortega-Hernandez was in the custody of Pennsylvania State Police after being found at a Hampton Inn.

The Secret Service fanned out across the country, coordinating with local law enforcement to find the shooter. The agency said that it had received information that Ortega-Hernandez was using certain hotels during his travels.

This morning, a hotel employee reportedly recognized the suspect from photos distributed by the Secret Service and contacted the agency.

The Secret Service said Tuesday that it suspected that a bullet fired in the shooting incident Friday may have hit the White House after a round was found in a window. The agency said they feared the suspect in the incident might be a threat to President Obama.

The round was stopped by ballistic glass behind the historic exterior glass, while an additional round was found on the exterior of the White House.

Police believe Ortega-Hernandez is mentally ill. He has an extensive record, ranging from domestic violence to drug charges. Sources say a police investigation uncovered evidence suggesting Ortega-Hernandez has a fixation on the White House.

At 9:30 p.m. Friday, police received reports of shots fired in the bustling area of 16th Street and Constitution Avenue

Authorities later found a car in the area. The suspect had fled, but what police discovered inside the vehicle left them deeply concerned: an assault-style rifle and empty shell casings.

Police linked the car to Ortega-Hernandez and started searching for him.

Authorities suspect Ortega-Hernandez had been in the area for weeks, coming back and forth to the Washington Mall. Before the shooting, he was detained by local police at an abandoned house. U.S. Park police say Ortega may have spent time with Occupy D.C. protesters.

Obama, who is currently on a visit to Australia, was not present at the White House at the time of the incident, and has been out of town for the last week.