A Missouri teen who allegedly crashed into a security barrier near the White House on Monday night reportedly told cops he was trying to kill President Joe Biden and seize power of the government.
That man, identified by U.S. Park Police as 19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula, now faces charges that include threatening to kill, kidnap, or inflict harm on a president, vice president, or family member.
Unnamed law enforcement sources told ABC News that Kandula said he wanted to seize power from the president, flying to Washington, D.C. from St. Louis to carry out the failed attack. Many details about the incident are unclear, but Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed Tuesday that the crash appeared to be intentional.
Authorities say Kandula rammed into security bollards at Lafayette Park—across the street from the White House—using a rented U-Haul box truck. A law enforcement source told CNN that no explosives were found in the but a witness told Reuters that cops dug out a Nazi flag from his truck. (A Reuters photographer captured the flag laid out on the ground next to the truck before it was taken away as evidence.) Fox 5 reported that cops also recovered a backpack, duct tape, and “a notebook with pages full of writing” from the truck.
Kandula does not have a large online presence. The teen graduated from high school last year in Chesterfield, Missouri, a school district official confirmed to Fox 5. An archived roster shows Kandula was on the track and field team.
A LinkedIn profile for Kandula said he graduated from Marquette Senior High School. A rambling bio said he wanted to pursue a career in data analytics despite not having any work experience.
“I am actively searching for jobs in order for me to apply my skills when I do get a job in order to build experience in a company,” he wrote.
Kandula now faces a slew of federal charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon, destruction of federal property, trespassing, and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
Monday’s incident closed multiple roads and pedestrian walkways, and the nearby Hay-Adams hotel temporarily evacuated its guests. K-9s and a robot unit were used to check the truck.
“I was walking home from my run on the mall and went through the barricade maybe 20 seconds before they hit the first time,” a witness, who posted video of the alleged incident, told Fox on Twitter. “After they rammed it the second time I decided it was time to get the hell out of there.”