By Joseph Weber, ,
Published March 12, 2017
Federal attorneys on Saturday identified the person who allegedly jumped a White House fence Friday night and got so deep into the compound that he was seen hiding behind one the mansion’s column before being apprehended.
The suspect has been identified as Jonathan Tuan Tran, 26, of Milpitas, Calif., according the U.S. Attorney's Office and court documents.
Tran purportedly entered the White House grounds at about 11:38 p.m. Friday with a backpack and was approaching the building’s south portico residence entrance when apprehended.
President Trump was inside the White House at the time and on Saturday said he appreciated the Secret Service efforts and that the accused is disturbed.
The Secret Service issue a statement on the incident at about noon Saturday that said the backpack contained no hazardous materials and that the unidentified suspect had no “previous history” with the agency.
However, court documents obtained by Fox News state Tran had two cans of mace in his possession, including one inside his jacket pocket.
Tran was charged late Saturday in a District of Columbia federal court with “entering or remaining in restricted grounds while using or carrying a dangerous weapon.” The federal offense carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Secret Service says the suspect scaled an outer-perimeter fence on the White House complex’s southeast side, near the Treasury Building, and was arrested without further incident by an officer in the agency’s Uniformed Division.
Court document state surveillance video shows Tran hiding behind a White House column.
And the arresting officer writes in the criminal complaint that he first observed Tran “walking close to the exterior wall of the White House mansion” and that Tran began heading toward the complex’s south lawn upon being noticed.
The officer also states Tran, dressed in a hooded sweatshirt of jacket, told him, “I am a friend of the president. I have an appointment.”
The documents state Trans was also carrying an Apple laptop computer, a book written by Trump and a letter to the president.
In the letter, Tran mentions “Russian hackers” and that he has relevant information. Tran also writes that he’s been called “schizophrenic” and that his phone and email communications have been “read by a third party,” according to the documents.
Tran is being held without bond, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for now has declined further comment. Tran’s next court appearance is Monday.
Friday's security breach follows a series of similar lapses that took place during the eight years that Barack Obama was president.
An especially embarrassing breach came in September 2014 when an Army veteran with mental health issues scaled a fence on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House and made it deep inside the building, to the East Room, before the Secret Service could detain him.
The Obamas were not at home at the time. The incident was one of several breakdowns by the Secret Service that ultimately led to the resignation of the agency's director, Julia Pierson, the following month.
Fox News' Kristin Fisher, Matthew Dean and Serafin Gomez and the Associated Press contributed to this report.