WASHINGTON — An intruder with a backpack was arrested on the South grounds of the White House late Friday after scaling an iron fence, according to media reports. The suspect, who carried a California driver’s license, told Secret Service officers that he was there to see the president.
“No, I am a friend of the President. I have an appointment,” the suspect said when approached by an officer, according to a report released Saturday by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department.
Asked how he got there, the suspect told officers: “I jumped the fence.”
President Trump was in the White House at the time, according to the Associated Press.
A Secret Service statement, as reported by CNN and The Washington Post, said the suspect’s backpack was screened and searched and was found to be free of any hazardous material. The name of the suspect, who was arrested by uniformed Secret Service, was not released.
According to the statement, the incident, first reported by CNN, occurred about 11:38 p.m. Friday.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was briefed on the incident.
The South Lawn of the 18-acre White House complex is located on the side of the executive mansion nearest the Washington Monument and is where Marine One lands and takes off.
In the summer of 2015, sharper spikes were added to the fence surrounding the perimeter to discourage intruders. Last year, the Secret Service proposed a new design with “intrusion detection technology.”
Other notable incidents:
• On April 1, 2016, an individual who scaled the White House fence after throwing a backpack over it was taken into custody by Secret Service agents.
• On March 7, 2016, Secret Service officers tackled and arrested a man in a hoodie who apparently tried to breach the White House fence.
• On Thanksgiving Day 2015, the Secret Service apprehended a White House fence jumper who said he was trying to deliver a message.
• On Jan. 26, 2015, a government employee told the Secret Service that he lost control of a small drone before it crashed on the grounds of the White House. The perimeter was locked down for a time period as officials examined the drone.
• On Oct. 22, 2014, a man jumped the fence on the north lawn and was quickly taken down by security dogs before being arrested by the Secret Service.
• On May 23, 2014, Secret Service officers arrested a man who had stripped himself of all his clothing outside the White House. He was charged with assault and indecent exposure.
• On Nov. 11, 2011, a man fired a semiautomatic rifle at the White House. He had called President Obama “the anti-Christ.” One bullet had struck an upstairs window, but was stopped by bulletproof glass, according to the Secret Service. The president wasn’t in the White House at the time
• On Sept. 11, 2014, a man wearing a Pikachu hat (from a fictional character in a video game) scaled the fence and entered the North Lawn where he was arrested.