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article imageWhite House intruder decorated war veteran 'crying out for help'

By Greta McClain     Sep 22, 2014 in World
Washington D.c. - The Texas man arrested for scaling the fence surrounding the White House Friday evening has been identified as a decorated Iraqi War veteran.
On Friday, Digital Journal reported people in the West Wing of the White House were evacuated and placed on lock down after a male subject scaled the security fence and rushed towards the building. The subject was later identified as Omar Gonzalez. According the the arrest affidavit, Gonzalez was armed with a Spyderco VG-10 knife when apprehended. He was transported to an area hospital for evaluation after telling Secret Service agents he needed to speak to the President because he was "concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing" and "so he could get word out to the people."
Gonzalez, a 42-year-old Army veteran from Copperas Cove, Texas, served as a member of the military from 1997 to 2003. After completing his service obligation, Gonzalez was discharged, but reenlisted in 2005, serving another seven years before being honorably discharged for medical reasons December 2012. During that time, Gonzalez served three tours in Iraq between October 2006 to January 2008. He was awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, along with thee Army Commendation Medals. The Army Commendation Medal is awarded to service members who distinguish themselves by acts of "heroism, extraordinary achievement, or meritorious service."
Samantha Bell was married to Gonzalez from 2006 through 2010 and says he has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is prescribed several medications for the disorder. According to Bell, after returning from his second tour in Iraq, Gonzalez began carrying a .45 pistol with him at all times and kept three or four rifles and shotguns behind the doors in their home. He would also insist on keeping all the blinds in the home closed and would often times wake in the middle of the night and check to make sure all of the doors were secure. She went on to say:
“Omar is a good guy; he's just got some issues that he needs help with. I think this is a cry out for help, what he's done. He really does need help. I just hope he can get it.”
Bell's son, Jerry S. Murphy, doesn't believe Gonzalez intended to harm anyone when he charged towards the White House, telling NewsDay:
"I know he's got heavy artillery, you know? He's got all kinds of weapons and he was trained to use them. I believe if he wanted to make a scene or cause problems, he very well could have. But it's clear that he didn't."
Murphey's sister, Rainie Murphy-Gandy agrees, calling Gonzalez a kind and gentle man whom everyone liked that was "scarred by war" and "started going downhill."
During a brief arraignment hearing Saturday afternoon, Gonzalez's attorney told the D.C. Superior Court judge that Gonzalez had no criminal convictions or arrest warrants and had tested negative for drugs. Court records show he was held without bond and transferred to the District Court. He is scheduled to appear in District Court today to face charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
More about White house, Intruder, Evacuation, Secret service, US Secretary of State
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