A 26-year-old California man stressed out by a job layoff is accused of scaling a White House fence while President Donald Trump was inside the building.
Jonathan T. Tran allegedly brought along a letter to Trump, in which he said he had evidence about “Russian hackers” that he wanted to give the president, reported WTOP.
The White House jumper’s breach of security at the White House is leading to concerns about the Secret Service’s protection of President Trump and his family, although Trump is praising the Secret Service in the wake of the incident. Tran is accused of telling authorities, “I jumped the fence.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tran Is Accused of Almost Making It to an Entrance to the Executive Residence With Mace & a Letter for Trump
According to CNN, Tran was discovered “by a Secret Service officer by the south entrance to the executive residence.”
Tran could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charges, which include a dangerous weapon charge. Tran had two cans of mace, according to an ABC News reporter, and said he had been called schizophrenic.
The Associated Press reported that President Donald Trump was inside the White House when the security breach occurred at about 11:38 p.m. on Friday, March 10.
Tran also carried a U.S. passport, an Apple laptop computer, and a book written by Trump, the complaint said, although it’s not clear which book.
WTOP reported that Tran “alleged that he had been followed, that his phone and email communications had been read by third parties.”
2. Tran Had Been Living Out of His Car & Eating Junk Food After Suffering Job Stress
Tran was carrying a backpack when he was arrested, but no hazardous materials were found inside it, according to The AP.
CBS News reported that, although the president was in the White House residence at the time of the security breach, First Lady Melania Trump was not.
Tran’s brother, Brian, from Milpitas, California, told CNN that Tran was “troubled” after “being laid off from his job at an electrical engineering company.” According to CNN, Brian said his brother was “living in his car and eating junk food,” and graduated from San Jose State University with an electrical engineering degree but then became “stressed out from the job.”
3. Tran Is Accused of Claiming He Was a Friend of Donald Trump & Trump Called Him a ‘Troubled’ Person
According to CBS News, the president, at his Virginia golf club on March 11, told the news media that the suspect was a “troubled person” and “very sad.”
Trump praised his protection detail, saying, according to CBS News: “Secret Service did a fantastic job last night.” Tran is accused of telling the Secret Service he was a friend of Trump’s who had an appointment to see him. The complaint accuses him of carrying a letter to Trump.
“I am a friend of the President. I have an appointment,” Tran is accused of saying.
4. Surveillance Video Shows the Intruder Jumping the Fence but He was Not Immediately Discovered
USA Today reported that the suspect was not discovered on the White House grounds until “officers bumped into the individual near the South Entry of the executive mansion,” but the newspaper reported that the president was never considered to be at actual risk.
There have been issues with White House jumpers on the past. According to CBS News, in April, “a government report said the Secret Service’s failure to react immediately to a 2014 fence-jumper who was able to make it inside the White House was due to technical problems with radios and notification systems as well as construction at the White House.”
According to The Guardian, in that incident, which led to the overhauling of the Secret Service’s leadership, “a former army sniper, Omar Gonzalez, climbed the fence and sprinted down the length of the White House’s East Room. Gonzalez carried a knife, and he had entered farther into the executive mansion than the agency had originally said.”
There were two other fence jumpers since that time, according to The Guardian.
5. Tran Has No Criminal History
Tran reportedly has no criminal history. According to The Washington Post, Tran also has no prior history with the Secret Service and is from the City of Milpitas, which is located near San Jose, California.
The Secret Service is currently without a permanent director due to the retirement just last week of Joseph Clancy.
The Post reported that the Secret Service has already taken steps to fortify the perimeter of the White House, including adding “small spikes…to the top of the six-foot fence that surrounds the White House complex. The agency also announced a plan to raise the height of the security fence to 11 feet by 2018.”
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