By Jim Kouri
Alleged assassin Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, on yesterday for his attempted assassination of President Barack Obama. The indictment stems from the November 11, 2011 shooting near the White House, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
The federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 17-count indictment against the 21-year old Ortega-Hernandez, who has been in isolated custody since his arrest November 16, 2011.
In addition to the attempted assassination charge, Ortega-Hernandez was charged with assaulting federal officers with a deadly weapon, damaging the property of the United States, and related firearms charges.
The grand jury returned criminal charges against Ortega-Hernandez for violating District of Columbia law as well. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the charges carry a possible prison term of life imprisonment.
According to the evidence presented to the members of the grand jury, on November 11, 2011, at about 9:00 PM (et), the defendant drove his Honda Accord westbound in the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue NW. He stopped the vehicle just past the entrance and, using a semiautomatic rifle, fired several rounds at the White House.
No one was wounded in the attack. FBI investigators examined the building and located several confirmed bullet impact points on the south side of the building on or above the second story residence area. Several bullets and fragments also were collected in the area near the impact points.
The suspect was arrested at a Hampton Inns motel in Indiana, Pennsylvania within hours of the shooting.
President Obama was out of town at the time of shooting, attending an APEC summit in Honolulu.
The motive for the attack is still unknown.
Members of the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and the U.S. Park Police responded to the scene of the attack and conducted their investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys George P. Varghese and John W. Borchert of the National Security Section of the United States Attorney’s Office.