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Man arrested in White House shooting has 'interest' in Obama

November 16, 2011 |  3:56 pm

Oscar

A man arrested in connection with a shooting incident near the White House -- which could be the source of a bullet that hit a White House window -- might have been targeting President Obama.

The president was never in any danger. He and the first lady were actually in California on Friday when the incident occurred.

But the shooting unleashed a multi-agency manhunt involving the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, FBI, U.S. Park Police, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and others to track down Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, shown above. Officials suspect the shooting may be the source of two bullets discovered Tuesday outside the White House, one of which hit a window.

Ortega-Hernandez was arrested Wednesday by Pennsylvania state troopers at an Indiana, Pa., hotel shortly after noon, local time, according to a statement released to the media.

Sources with the Secret Service told CNN that interviews with those who know Ortega-Hernandez concluded that he has a "direction of interest toward the president and the White House" -- a description that stops short of a direct threat.

Details are still emerging, but here's the known timeline so far:

On Friday morning, Ortega-Hernandez caught the attention of authorities as he was reportedly "circling" the area. They made contact with him, but he was later sent on his way.

That night, law enforcement officials investigated a spattering of gunfire heard on Constitution Avenue, about 700 yards south of the White House. While investigating that incident, they found a car containing items that led them to Ortega-Hernandez. During the course of the query, authorities recovered an assault rifle.

Fast forward to Tuesday, when authorities discovered two bullets outside the White House, including one that struck historic exterior glass in a window above the Truman Balcony on the South Portico. (So far, authorities have not said what kind of bullets were found outside the White House.)

It all raises questions about whether the bullets found on Tuesday were actually fired Friday night, whether the two incidents are in any way related. Moreover: Does Ortega-Hernandez have anything to do with any of this, and, if so, was he targeting the president?

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez. Credit: Reuters

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