Washington, Nov 18 (IANS) A 21-year-old Hispanic man, who acquaintances say called Barack Obama "the anti-Christ", has been charged with trying to assassinate the president in a shooting incident aimed at the White House.
Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez is accused of firing shots at the White House on Friday, including some that hit the building near the residence area where the first family lives, according to a complaint document made public after the suspect's initial court hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Thursday.
The charge carries a possible maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
One witness described to investigators hearing about "eight sounds of popping noise" and seeing "puffs of air" from a car on Constitution Avenue near the White House, an FBI agent's sworn statement said.
One bullet hit a window and was stopped by bulletproof glass, and another was found on the White House exterior, the Secret Service said.
Investigators found a semi-automatic rifle, several boxes of ammunition and nine spent shell casings in a car owned by Ortega-Hernandez that was parked several blocks away on the lawn of the National Institute of Peace, the agent's affidavit said.
With long, tangled hair and a beard, Ortega-Hernandez wore a white jumpsuit and was handcuffed with legs chained when entering the courtroom guarded by US marshals. Guards removed the handcuffs for the hearing, but the leg chains remained on as he sat down.
According to three acquaintances cited in the complaint document, Ortega-Hernandez considered Obama the cause of his problems and referred to him at times as the "anti-Christ" and the devil.
One witness-identified only as "W-4"-told investigators that Ortega-Hernandez "has increasingly become more agitated against the federal government, and is convinced that the federal government is conspiring against him," the FBI agent's affidavit said.
Another witness-identified as "W-6"-also quoted Ortega-Hernandez calling Obama "the anti-Christ." This witness told agents Ortega-Hernandez told him he "needed to kill him."
A third witness, known as "W-7," told investigators Ortega-Hernandez believed President Obama is 'the devil,' and that Ortega-Hernandez 'will not stop until it's done.'" the affidavit said. "W-7 also reported that Ortega-Hernandez stated Obama 'needed to be taken care of.'"