Was gunman trying to shoot President Obama?

Bullet_hit_White_House_window
Ballistic glass may have halted a bullet from piercing a White House window, but Tuesday's discovery of the resulting damage raises unsettling questions about whether a gunman was aiming to harm President Obama.

The president was never in any danger, reports our sister blog, Politics Now, because he and the first lady were in California at the time, attending the Carrier Classic basketball game in Coronado. And the bullet could have been an errant one fired Friday in a shooting near the Washington Monument.

The Secret Service, which has the job of protecting the president, is investigating the incident and did not return phone calls seeking details by the time this story was posted. But this much is known:

A bullet hit a window of the White House but was stopped by the ballistic glass. That bullet and an additional round of ammunition were found Tuesday morning outside the building. Photos taken Wednesday, like the one above, show authorities examining windows on the South Portico of the White House, which faces the Washington Monument.

The Tuesday discovery of the bullets followed reports of gunfire near the Washington Monument on Friday night. Witnesses reportedly heard shots and saw vehicles in the area. An assault rifle was  recovered as part of that investigation, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities have previously said that the White House did not appear to have been targeted in the Friday incident.

An arrest warrant has been issued in that earlier shooting for a man identified as Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21. He's believed to be living in the Washington area, has ties to Idaho and has an arrest record in three states, U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser said.

In the wake of that Friday night shooting, authorities found an abandoned car containing items that led law enforcement officials to Ortega-Hernandez.

Arlington, Va., Police Lt. Joe Kantor said Ortega-Hernandez was stopped Friday morning after a report of someone "circling the area," but authorities had no reason to detain him at that time. They say Ortega-Hernandez sports several tattoos, including one with the word "Israel" on the left side of his neck.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Law enforcement personnel investigate where a bullet hit a window on the south side of the White House. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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