WASHINGTON — A man jumped the White House fence Wednesday night and was taken into custody after being bitten by a guard dog, officials said, just weeks after another fence jumper made it deep into the executive mansion amid a series of security failures.
Secret Service agents and K-9 units quickly apprehended the latest fence jumper, who authorities identified as Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Maryland. He was taken to a hospital with injuries from a dog bite, and charges against him were pending, authorities said.
Although details remained sketchy, two of the Secret Service dogs were taken to a veterinarian for injuries suffered during the incident. A video circulating online appeared to show the intruder kicking and punching a dog. A law enforcement source, citing an initial police report, said authorities are preparing charges of assaulting a police officer in the attack on the dog, whose name is Hurricane.
Despite its quick ending, the struggle close to the executive mansion prompted a burst of activity from security personnel. Authorities shut down nearby Lafayette Square, moving dozens of tourists to Washington's H Street NW, and the White House remained under lockdown for more than 90 minutes afterward. President Barack Obama was in the building, but his precise whereabouts — and those of his family — were unclear.
The incident was the latest in a string of security issues at the White House that have unsettled administration officials and led to the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson. On Sept. 19, a man scaled the fence and ran far into the executive mansion through an unlocked front door. Omar Gonzalez, 42, a U.S. Army veteran who has said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.
On Tuesday, a federal judge delayed Gonzalez's arraignment and ordered that he undergo a mental-health evaluation within 30 days.
The firestorm of criticism from that incident led to revelations about other recent Secret Service failures. Pierson resigned after being excoriated by House lawmakers, and investigations of the Sept. 19 incident are ongoing.
In Wednesday's incident, a man climbed the White House's north fence about 7:15 p.m. and was immediately taken into custody on the north lawn by Secret Service Uniformed Division K-9 teams and Uniformed Division Officers, said Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan. The man was unarmed, and no shots were fired, Donovan said.
Donovan said he was unaware of any changes in the security posture around the White House on Wednesday night. It was unclear what changes in security have been made since the earlier fence-jumping.
Little could be learned about Adesanya late Wednesday. He attended Stevenson University in Maryland in the past two years, concentrating on business administration and running track, according to his LinkedIn profile and other online records.
Family members could not be reached for comment Wednesday night, but Adesanya's father told Christian Schaffer of WMAR (Channel 2) in Baltimore that his son had wanted to talk to Obama about "his feelings that everyone was out to get him,'' the reporter tweeted. The father, who was not identified in the tweet, said his son has been having psychological problems for more than a year and has been arrested at the White House before, although no details were available Wednesday night.
Philippe Melaku-Bello, a peace protester who said he regularly spends time near the White House, said he saw five to six officers with batons out, standing over a man on the ground about 40 feet west of the center of the building on its northern side. He said the man was not moving. Officers immediately started moving bystanders farther from the White House. While Melaku-Bello was moving away, he heard the barking of a dog, he said.
Andrew Meade was in front of the White House with his family after a day of visiting museums. He said his wife saw someone climb over the fence, and he heard police shouting at the tourists to move.
Meade gathered his two young children and ran through Lafayette Square. As he ran, he said, he could hear Secret Service officers shouting orders at the intruder, including "get down on the ground" and "put your hands up." He heard a dog barking, he said.
The Sept. 19 fence-jumping incident ignited a major security review after reporting by The Washington Post revealed that Gonzalez got farther inside the White House than initially reported by the Secret Service. A cascade of other revelations soon emerged, including reporting by The Post that detailed the agency's fumbling response to a November 2011 incident in which a man fired a semiautomatic rifle into the White House residence while Sasha Obama was home. The Secret Service initially discounted the gunshots on Constitution Avenue as a shootout between rival gangs.
Also, a security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Barack Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, according to three people familiar with the incident.
The president was not told about the lapse in his security, the people have said.