October 23, 2014 / 12:15 PM / 4 years ago

Second White House fence jumper faces mental evaluation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The man arrested after jumping the White House fence on Wednesday night was charged in court with two federal offenses on Thursday, including harming a dog the Secret Service used to stop him from entering the presidential mansion.

A member of the U.S. Secret Service stands guard in front of the North Lawn of the White House in Washington October 23, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Federal Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson ordered a mental screening for the man, Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Maryland.

Adesanya was also charged with unlawfully entering the restricted grounds of the White House. Both charges are misdemeanors that carry up to one year in prison.

The incident came about one month after an intruder with a knife scaled the White House fence and entered the executive mansion, raising questions about security at the heavily guarded complex, and spurring the resignation of Julia Pierson as Secret Service director.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Secret Service’s response to the most recent incident was an improvement over its work to last month.

Adesanya also faces two misdemeanors from earlier incidents charged in a lower court, which also ordered a mental evaluation.

Video showed the intruder punching one of the dogs and Secret Service agents surrounding him on the north lawn of the White House.

In an interview with ABC’s Baltimore affiliate, WMAR, Adesanya’s father said his son was “mentally disturbed” and had previously gone to the White House seeking to talk to President Barack Obama, but had been stopped at the gate.

“He’d done it before. He didn’t get that close,” his father, who declined to be named or shown on camera, told WMAR. He said he has been unable to find help for his son.

The White House was locked down for almost two hours after the incident on Wednesday, the same day a gunman attacked Canada’s parliament in Ottawa.

On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Omar Gonzalez, charged in the Sept. 19 fence-jumping incident, to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Gonzalez, 42, an Army veteran living in Texas, was not stopped until he entered the main floor of the White House. In addition to the knife he was carrying, officers found more weapons in his car.

Adesanya will remain in detention until his next appearance in federal court on Oct. 27.

Reporting by Julia Edwards, Curtis Skinner and Jeff Mason.; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott

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