Suspect in White House Truck Crash Is Missouri Teen

Sources say Sai Varshith Kandula told officers he wanted to kill Biden, seize power
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2023 2:35 PM CDT
Report: White House Truck Crash Suspect Said He Wanted to Kill Biden, Seize Power
A US Park Police officer inspects a security barrier for damage in Lafayette Square park near the White House, Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The man charged with threatening to kill the president after crashing a U-Haul into barriers near the White House Monday night has been identified as a 19-year-old Missouri resident. Law enforcement sources tell ABC that Sai Varshith Kandula told officers that he planned to kill President Biden and seize control of the government. The sources say Kandula rented the truck after traveling from St. Louis to Dulles International Airport. Investigators say no weapons or explosives were found in the truck, though a Nazi flag was seized at the scene, NBC reports. Witnesses say Kandula waved the flag and shouted after crashing into a security barrier in Lafayette Square, the park across the street from the White House.

Kandula, a resident of the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless operation of a motor vehicle; threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president, or family member; destruction of federal property; and trespassing. Kandula is expected to appear in federal court Wednesday. Authorities believe mental health issues may be involved, according to ABC's sources. It's not clear whether Kandula was on the Secret Service's radar.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden was briefed on the incident by the Secret Service and US Park Police Tuesday morning, the AP reports. "He’s relieved that no one was injured last night," she said. (More White House stories.)

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