Man with swastika flag arrested after striking White House barrier with truck, sources say
(WASHINGTON) — The driver of a rented box truck that collided with a security barrier near the White House on Monday was arrested and charged, law enforcement officials said.
The U-Haul truck crashed at about 10 p.m. on the north side of Lafayette Square near the White House, officials said.
The suspect was identified as Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, of Chesterfield, Missouri, according to the U.S. Park Police.
Kandula was charged with five counts, including assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, trespassing and destruction of federal property, U.S. Park Police said.
He was also charged with threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or their families, police said.
Kandula allegedly traveled from St. Louis to Dulles International Airport where he rented a U-Haul truck and drove to the White House, law enforcement sources told ABC News. After ramming the bollard, Kandula exited the vehicle and began waving a flag with what authorities say appeared to be a swastika on it, and that is when officers from the U.S. Park Police detained him.
The FBI interviewed Kandula and told law enforcement that he wanted to seize power, take over the government and kill the president, according to three law enforcement sources. Additionally, sources tell ABC News that authorities are looking at a mental health component to the investigation.
There were no injuries to any Secret Service or White House personnel, Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, said in a statement.
A “preliminary investigation reveals the driver may have intentionally struck” the barrier, he said.
The truck was cleared for potential explosives, a law enforcement official said.
Park Police confirmed to ABC News that the investigation is still ongoing.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.