The hunt for a man suspected of firing shots from a semi-automatic weapon near the White House last week “has intensified” after the discovery that one of the bullets apparently struck a window of the mansion and another ended up on the grounds, The Washington Post‘s Crime Scene blog writes.
Authorities are looking for Oscar Ramiro Ortega, 21, who is believed to still “be in the D.C. area [but] has ties to Idaho,” MSNBC.com reports. He is also known as Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, The Associated Press says. The wire service adds that he is “described as a 21-year-old Hispanic man, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 160 pounds, with a medium build, brown eyes and black hair.”
According to U.S. Park Police, Ortega’s “right hand has a tattoo of three dots, he has a tattoo stating ‘Ortega’ on his upper back, a tattoo on his right chest of rosary beads and hands clasped in prayer, a tattoo of folded hands on left chest, and the word ‘Israel’ tattooed on left side of neck.”
An arrest warrant has been issued.
The incident happened Friday night around 9:30 p.m. ET. Witnesses heard shots from around the area between the Ellipse and the Washington Monument grounds, the Post says. That’s to the south of the White House. Shortly after, a car was found abandoned near the Roosevelt Bridge into Virginia and a witness reported seeing a man running toward that bridge. Park Police found a semi-automatic rifle and a shell casing in the vehicle, according to the Post.
Neither President Obama nor first lady Michelle Obama were in the White House at the time.
The bullet that hit the window did not continue into the building. According to the AP, it “was stopped by ballistic glass.”
The incident recalls a string of events at the White House in 1994. In one, four shots were fired at the mansion. One bullet “pierced a window in the first-floor State Dining Room” as The New York Times reported. No one was injured and no one was ever arrested. President Clinton and his family were not in the White House at at the time.
Also that year, Francisco M. Duran of Colorado man fired 29 shots from an assault rifle at the White House. No one was injured. Convicted of attempting to kill the president, he remains in prison, with a projected release date of Sept. 3, 2029.
In the third incident that year, Frank Eugene Corder of Maryland crashed a small airplane he had stolen on to the White House grounds, killing himself in the process.