Knife-Wielding Man Who Jumped White House Fence Was a Wounded Veteran

A man who reportedly served 18 years in the Army and retired in 2012 has been accused of jumping over the White House fence carrying a knife in his pants.

Omar J. Gonzalez, a 42-year-old wounded veteran from Texas, allegedly hopped over the fence at around 7 p.m. Friday and proceeded to make a run for the West Wing before he was apprehended by security guards. According to Gonzalez' family members, the man served as a sniper in Iraq three times and lost part of his foot while in combat. They say he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and had been homeless and living alone in the woods with just his two dogs for two years prior to this incident.

Gonzalez says he felt compelled to get to President Obama because he had a very important message to deliver to him.

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According to Secret Service agents, Gonzalez's intention was to warn Obama that "the atmosphere was collapsing." While the man was previously believed to be unarmed, it has since been revealed that he was actually carrying a Spyderco VG-10 black folding knife in the front pocket of his pants.

The president and his family weren't home at the time of the attempted break-in and had apparently been whisked away by helicopter just a few minutes before the incident.

You would think a potential target like the White House would be heavily guarded -- and it is -- but that didn't stop yet another man named Kevin Carr from attempting to break into the White House less than 24 hours after Gonzalez jumped the fence. Carr, who is just 19, was charged with unlawful entry.

Gonzalez was also charged with unlawful entry. I understand that this man deserves to face a consequence for breaking the law, but I find it sad that he sacrificed his life for his country and hasn't received the mental health help he likely needs. There's also no excuse for a military veteran who suffered a life-altering wound to return home and be forced to live on the street.

The two incidents prompted White House officials to make an announcement that they were working to beef up security.

Do you think this Army vet should be charged with a crime?

 

Image via Shubert Ciencia/Flickr

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