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Man Who Jumped White House Fence Sentenced to 17 Months In Prison

A federal judge has sentenced Omar Gonzalez, the man who breached the Secret Service's protection by scaling a fence at the White House and then entering the building, to 17 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

In March, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to two federal offenses: unlawfully
entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon and one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees.

"Mr. Gonzalez is now paying the price for his foolish decision to jump the fence and run inside the White House," said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen. "When he finishes his prison term, he will be barred from entering the District of Columbia and must receive psychiatric treatment."

Gonzalez, 43, has been in prison since last September, when he ran onto the grounds of the presidential residence and entered a White House door on a Friday evening. The Army veteran who had served in Iraq was found to be carrying a small folding knife. Prosecutors later said that he had hundreds of rounds of ammunition inside his vehicle, along with hatchets and a machete.

At the time, President Obama and his family were not at home.

The fence-jumping incident was one of several high-profile disruptions at the White House, which have ranged from an airborne drone crashing on the lawn to two senior agents who had reportedly been drinking driving their car into a security barrier at the complex.

A former resident of Copperas Cove, Texas, Gonzalez has a history of mental health issues, including depression.

The Secret Service's former head, Julia Pierson, resigned last October. The agency was placed in the hands of a new director, Joseph Clancy, in February.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.