The White House was placed under lockdown for some time after a man draped in an American flag jumped over its fence.
President Barack Obama and his family were inside the White House to celebrate the holidays, according to the authorities. The man, identified as Joseph Caputo, was apprehended on the North Lawn of the White House premises, Robert Hoback, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said. Caputo, who is facing criminal charges, had a binder in his mouth when he jumped over the fence, NBC Washington reports.
Vanessa Peña, an intern on Capitol Hill, saw a man take off his sweatshirt and pull an American flag over him. According to her, he said, “‘All right, let’s do this,’” after which “he just ran through us, jumped over the first barricade and went over the fence.” She added, “Right when he landed, he threw his arms in the air and went to his knees.”
According to the Washington Post, one of the members of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the area witnessed the man climbing over the fence. “He was walking toward the White House with his hands up,” said the witness. “The police told us to move away as quickly as possible. I looked over my shoulder. I was scared.”
The incident occurred after security was tightened for the holiday following the Paris attacks that killed 129 people. It is the third time this year someone has jumped over the fence of the White House.