Court documents show that the Missouri man who drove a rented box truck into security barriers near the White House told authorities that he wanted to ‘“seize power” and “kill the president”. He was charged with threatening US President Joe Biden after what appears to be a deliberate crash.
The driver, identified as Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, of Chesterfield, Missouri, was detained by the Secret Service.
A Reuters witness saw investigators pull a Nazi swastika flag from inside the truck, which ploughed into barriers at Lafayette Square, a public area one block from the White House compound, on Monday evening.
A Secret Service agent said that Kandula rented the U-Haul truck on Monday night after flying into Dulles International Airport from St. Louis. He arrived on a one-way ticket. A statement of facts has been filed in federal district court in Washington D.C.
The statement entailed that Kandula is being charged with depredation of property in the United States worth over $1000.
At around 9.35 pm on Monday, Kandula drove the truck onto a pavement outside the White House and crashed into a metal barrier twice before US Park Police officers took him into custody.
Kandula faces a battery of charges, including threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the president, vice president or a family member, the U.S. Park Police said in a statement.
According to court documents, when asked about the swastika, Kandula allegedly said that he purchased it online because Nazis “have a great history.” He went on to say that he “admires their authoritarian nature, Eugenics, and their one world order,” also mentioning that he believes Hitler was a “strong leader”.
Kandula revealed to authorities that he had been planning his attack in a “green book” for months. He said that his “goal was to get into the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation.”
When asked how he would do so, Kandula responded that he would “kill the President if that’s what I have to do and hurt anyone that would stand in my way.”
Kandula’s hometown acquaintances say that he was a “chill” teenager whilst local police confirmed that they have no records of interaction with him, or any history of calls for service to his home.
After Monday's crash, a video on WUSA television showed a remote-controlled robot opening the rear door of the box-type, U-Haul truck, revealing a dolly but no other obvious cargo.
Chris Zaboji, an airline pilot who lives in Washington, shot a brief video showing the incident unfolding and posted it on social media.
Hearing a loud bang, "I looked back and saw that the U-Haul van had rammed into the barricade," Zaboji said, adding that he left the scene after the truck hit the barriers a second time.
Biden's exact location at the time of the crash just before 10 pm (0200 GMT Tuesday) was unclear. He had met with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy at the White House earlier on Monday evening.