A 19-year-old Missouri man was arrested late Monday night after he rammed a U-Haul truck into security barriers near the White House in an alleged attempt to kill Joe Biden.
Sai Varshith Kandula of Chesterfield, Missouri, was reportedly taken into custody at the scene, and is facing multiple charges including “assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, the threat to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm on a President, Vice President, or family, destruction of federal property, and trespassing.” After crashing the vehicle, Kandula reportedly jumped out of the van and started waving a Nazi flag.
The teenager allegedly flew from St Louis, Missouri, to Dulles Airport in Washington D.C., and then rented the U-Haul truck as part of a poorly executed plan to take over the U.S. government.
According to the Daily Mail, Kandula told the FBI he wanted to overthrow the U.S. government, kill Joe Biden and take over himself. The teenager has been charged with 18 U.S. Code § 879 for threatening someone protected by the Secret Service, and faces up to five years in prison. The incident happened just before 10:00 p.m. and prompted an evacuation at the nearby Hay-Adams hotel.
Chris Zaboji, a witness to the crash, posted a brief video to social media showing the truck driving into the barriers. The video was verified by Reuters. After crashing once, Zaboji said the driver hit the barricades a second time.
Zaboji, 25, an airline pilot who lives in Washington, said he had just finished jogging on the National Mall and was walking home when he heard a loud crash.
“I looked back and saw that the U-Haul van had rammed into the barricade. I backed away behind a guy on a golf cart and took the video on my phone. After I saw it rammed again. I didn’t want to be anywhere near the truck and left,” Zaboji said.
Photos of the crash scene show plastic evidence bags, and a Nazi flag spread out on the sidewalk in front of the U-Haul for public viewing.
JUST IN: the driver of the #Uhaul that tried to crash through #Lafayette Park is charged with “Threaten to kill/ kidnap/ inflict harm on a President/ VP / family member”. We saw a Nazi flag, duct tape and a notebook with pages full of writing retrieved from the truck. @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/U9saFoLRIf
— Melanie Alnwick (@fox5melanie) May 23, 2023
Later, a law enforcement officers can be seen in video footage placing the flag and other evidence back of the U-Haul. There was apparently nothing else inside the U-Haul dolly.
— VIRTUE.NEWS (@virtuemediacorp) May 23, 2023
The Secret Service released the following statement Monday night:
“Shortly before 10:00pm Monday, Secret Service Uniformed Division officers detained the driver of a box truck after the vehicle collided with security barriers on the north side of Lafayette Square on 16th Street.
“There were no injuries to any Secret Service or White House personnel and the cause and manner of the crash remain under investigation. Road closures are in effect and pedestrian walkways are closed as we investigate.”