Sunday morning, law enforcement initially approached a man on suspicion he was urinating in public, near an art gallery close to the White House.
The suspect told Secret Service that he was headed towards the White House to fulfill an appointment with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, according to a report from CNN. The large number of weapons the man had suggests it was his intention to assassinate someone at the White House.
When asked what his supposed meeting with these officials was for, the man responded he sought the two officials’ advice on “missing paychecks and how to get the chip out of my head.”
The man had parked his 2009 silver Nissan, with Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police license plates, near 17th street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
He allowed police to search his vehicle. In the vehicle, authorities found brass knuckles, three knives, nine guns, suppressors, and ammunition of various types.
The guns found in the vehicle include a Bushmaster M4, a Tec-9 with silencer, a Rossi .357, a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, and a Norinco Ak-47. Apparently, the man was prepared for hand-to-hand combat as well as a gun fight, with a folding knife, a blackjack, and the brass knuckles.
Initially, the suspect was brought to a health facility “for mental observation,” but he was soon transported to a police station. There he was charged with illegal possession of firearms, illegal transportation of firearms, and other weapons violations.
He has now been identified as 37-year-old Timothy Joseph Bates, of Collierville, Tennessee, according to the Washington Post.
This man is not the first dangerous character to be heading to the White House. Back in March, a very similar incident occurred. A man carrying mace actually made it onto White House grounds by jumping a fence, according to a report from CNN.
This suspect has since been identified as 26-year-old Jonathan T. Tran, of California. Like Bates, Tran also argued he had an appointment, but with the president himself.
Tran was carrying a letter he wrote to the president, a book authored by the president, and his passport, along with the mace.
This man seemed to exhibit delusions as well, arguing he had information about Russian hackers and that someone had been reading his emails and listening to his phone calls.
Also, like the first suspect, Tran was compliant with Secret Service and arrested “without further incident.”
At the time, President Trump said: “The service did a fantastic job” dealing with Tran. Trump said, “It was a troubled person. It was very sad.”
President Trump has yet to respond to this most recent incident.
Are assassination attempts growing more rampant?
A report from NBC4 found that at least 22 people have been arrested for attempting to breach the White House since 2014. While there seems to be an increase of people jumping the fence at the White House, the incidents appear to be driven by mental illness.
Consider the man who jumped the fence back in March, who made a false bomb threat. He had told Secret Service that, “this is a test.”
Judges ordered that mental health support is given to 15 of these 22 suspects.
Regardless of the mental state of those who attempt to breach White House security, Americans can be grateful for Secret Service members and other law enforcement officials who are doing their best to protect members of our country’s government.