WASHINGTON - A man attempted to jump the White House fence and dropped his backpack, sparking a response from the Secret Service on Monday, according to officials.
According to the Secret Service, the suspect climbed over the security barrier on the south side of the White House between the Ellipse and E Street at around 12:45 p.m. Secret Service said the man dropped a backpack and was immediately taken into custody.
D.C. police later identified the suspect as 29-year-old Alexander Thomas Miner.
Jim Tripp, a tourist visiting from Seattle, captured video of the suspect as he attempted to jump the fence. Tripp told FOX 5's Paul Wagner that the suspect stated, “Do you want to see if God is real?” before jumping the barriers on E Street and grabbing the back fence of the White House, which set off the alarm. Tripp said the man then shouted to Secret Service officers to “shoot me.”
“He was challenging them to be shot,” Tripp explained. “He had his hands out and the officer remained very calm as he got closer and closer to him until other officers came up from the back.”
The Ellipse was fully closed and E Street along the north fence line was closed to pedestrians and traffic. Officials also closed 17th Street from D Street to New York Avenue as the Secret Service worked to identify if the man's backpack was hazardous.
After about an hour, the Secret Service announced the backpack was safe and the scene was cleared. The suspect, who has not been identified, was being charged with unlawful entry.