The Texas man accused of dashing through the White House front door Friday with a folding knife is a decorated Army veteran and marksman who served in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday.
Omar Jose Gonzalez, who is being held in connection with illegally trying to enter the White House complex, served more than 13 years over the course of two Army stints.
The 42-year-old Gonzalez was discharged in 2003 after serving six years and completing his military service obligation. He retired in 2012 as a result of a disability, after serving roughly seven more years, according to his military record.
The military does not provide details about a soldier's disability due to privacy considerations.
Gonzales, of Copperas Cove, Texas, allegedly jumped the White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue at 7:20 p.m. Friday, then crossed the North Lawn and opened the mansion’s front door before being apprehended by a Secret Service police officer standing guard.
President Obama, his two daughters and a friend had left minutes before on helicopter Marine One for Camp David. First lady Michelle Obama had departed earlier for the western Maryland presidential retreat.
According to court documents, Gonzales told Secret Service agents after being apprehended that the “atmosphere was collapsing” and that he had to tell the president so he could warn the public.
Officials first said the fact that Gonzales appeared to be unarmed may have been a factor in why agents at the scene didn't shoot or have their dogs pursue him before he made it inside the White House.
According to Gonzales’ record, his military occupation was Cavalry Scout, which the Army calls the “eyes and ears of the commander during battle” and whose duties included preparing ammunition, reporting on terrain and collecting data on classify routes.
He received more than a dozen awards, badges and ribbons during his military career including two Good Conduct medals an Iraq Campaign medal, a Combat Action badge and an Expert Marksmanship badge.
Gonzalez is expected to appear in federal court Monday to face charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.
At a hearing late Saturday afternoon in D.C. Superior Court, the assistant public defender representing Gonzalez said her client had no convictions or arrest warrants and had tested negative Saturday for drug use, according to The Washington Post.
"This is someone who has provided service to his country and shown commitment in his life," said the lawyer, Margarita O'Donnell, as she tried unsuccessfully to get Gonzalez released.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.