Suspect arrested in alleged assassination attempt after crashing U-Haul truck into security barriers near White House

May 24, 2023
Ben Marquis

A man crashed a U-Haul moving truck into security barriers near the White House Monday night in what federal authorities say was a failed attempt to assassinate President Joe Biden, according to the Conservative Brief.

The suspect, who was immediately taken into custody and charged with numerous federal crimes, is alleged to have made threats against the president and others.

Nobody was harmed in the incident, however, and an investigation of the suspect and crashed truck revealed no bombs or other weapons -- though a Nazi flag, which has been the primary focus of most media reports, was allegedly discovered in the suspect's backpack.

The alleged assassination attempt

NBC News reported that the U-Haul truck crashed into security barriers blocking an entrance to Lafayette Park, which is located directly north of the White House around 10 pm Monday night.

The suspect has been identified as Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, of Chesterfield, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and he was initially charged with "threatening to kill, kidnap, inflict harm on a president, vice president, or family member," among other things, based on statements he made at the time of his arrest.

According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, President Biden was at the White House at the time of the incident but was never in any real danger and may not have been aware of it at the time, though he did receive a full briefing from Park Police and the Secret Service Tuesday morning.

Jean-Pierre told reporters of the president, "He’s relieved that no one was injured last night and grateful to the agent and law enforcement officer who responded so quickly."

In a statement Monday night, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, "There were no injuries to any Secret Service or White House personnel and the cause and manner of the crash remain under investigation," and added later in an update that the "preliminary investigation reveals the driver may have intentionally struck the security barriers."

Could face multiple federal felony charges

CNN reported that Kandula made an appearance Tuesday afternoon in a federal courtroom but, despite the variety of initial criminal charges lodged against him, was only formally charged on a single count of causing damage to federal property in excess of $1,000 -- though it is likely that additional charges will be filed later -- and he was ordered to be held without bond.

Those possible additional charges could include, per an initial report, "charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, destruction of federal property, and trespassing, according to the Park Police," on top of the threats to kill the president and others.

The CNN report noted that according to prosecutors, Kandula allegedly told officers that he had worked for six months on a plan to "get to the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation," and included a willingness on his part to "kill the President if that’s what I have to do and would hurt anyone that would stand in my way."

Asked about the Nazi flag found in his backpack, the suspect is also alleged to have praised the Nazis and dictator Adolf Hitler. Perhaps unsurprisingly, investigators are looking into whether any sort of mental illness is involved in the situation.

Massive federal investigation

According to NBC News, the incident is being investigated jointly by the Secret Service, FBI, U.S. Capitol Police, and the U.S. Park Police.

CNN noted that the FBI and Secret Service executed a search warrant on Kandula's home in Missouri on Tuesday in search of any evidence related to the alleged plot to assassinate the president.

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