The 19-year-old man accused of driving a U-Haul truck into security barriers near the White House on Monday night told police he wanted to “seize power” and kill President Joe Biden “if that’s what I have to do.”
Sai Varshith Kandula of Chesterfield, Missouri, was charged by the U.S. Park Police on May 22 with assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, threats to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm on a president, vice president, or their family members, destruction of federal property, and trespassing.
The incident prompted an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, as detailed in an affidavit released on Tuesday.
According to the affidavit, Kandula, who was questioned by Secret Service at a U.S. Park Police station, confessed that he had flown from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., on a one-way ticket, arriving at Dulles International Airport at approximately 8:00 p.m. that evening. He then rented a U-Haul truck from a nearby location and made his way directly to the White House.
During the subsequent interview with the Secret Service, Kandula said his goal was to “get to the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation.” He also expressed a willingness to “kill the president if that’s what I have to do” and to harm anyone who tried to get in his way.
The incident occurred around 9:40 p.m. on the north side of Lafayette Park at the intersection of 16th Street NW. As a result, nearby roads and sidewalks were closed, and the Hay-Adams hotel was evacuated as a precautionary measure.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden was present in the White House at the time of the incident, and briefed on the incident the next morning.
“He’s relieved that no one was injured last night and grateful to the agents and the law enforcement officer who responded so quickly,” Jean-Pierre said.
According to the affidavit, a Park Police officer witnessed Kandula driving onto the sidewalk, causing pedestrians to flee the area. The U-Haul truck struck the metal bollard barriers intended to prevent vehicle access to Lafayette Square, then reversed and hit the barriers once again.
The officer activated emergency lights and observed Kandula exiting the truck and going to the rear of the vehicle.
“The officer watched as Kandula removed a red and white flag with a Nazi Swastika in the center from a black backpack he was carrying,” the affidavit states. “At this point, the USPP officer ordered Kandula down to the ground and detained him and searched him.”
Eyewitnesses shared their accounts of the incident.
Chris Zaboji posted video footage on social media showing the U-Haul truck driving into the barricades. The video shows the driver initially crashing into the barricades before continuing to attempt to move forward following the initial crash.
Zaboji, a 25-year-old airline pilot who lives in Washington, said he had just finished jogging on the National Mall and was walking home when he heard a loud crash.
“I looked back and saw that the U-Haul van had rammed into the barricade. I backed away behind a guy on a golf cart and took the video on my phone. After I saw it rammed again I didn’t want to be anywhere near the truck and left,” Zaboji said.
Photos from the scene show a Nazi-style flag lying spread out on the ground in public view near the truck. Footage from a local photojournalist shows a law enforcement officer folding up the flag.
Officers retrieved the flag and plastic evidence bags that had been laid out on the sidewalk following the crash and placed them in the back of the U-Haul, a Reuters photographer said.
Kandula said he purchased the flag online due to his admiration for the Nazi regime. He cited their “authoritarian nature, Eugenics, and their one world order” as reasons for his support. When asked about his role models, he mentioned Adolf Hitler, describing him as a “strong leader.”
The Missouri man obtained the U-Haul rental from Herndon, Virginia, and the rental company confirmed that he had a valid contract under his own name. U-Haul said that individuals as young as 18 years old are eligible to rent trucks, and there were no red flags in his rental record.
Law enforcement officials, based on the evidence at hand, believe there is sufficient probable cause to charge Kandula with depredation of government property exceeding $1,000 in value.
Kandula told law enforcement officials that he had been planning this incident for six months.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times