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Two recent security breaches at the White House involving two different men, both armed, one with a vehicle and one with a knife according to officials, has people questioning the amount of force that was used to kill an unarmed Black woman last year who made a mistake when she bumped a security barricade with her vehicle and in a panic drove away. After getting blocks away from the White House, she was eventually killed by Secret Service agents and Capitol Police officers who were all cleared in the shooting by both departments and the US Attorney for the District.
In the security breaches involving the two men, the first man, 42-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez, armed with a knife scaled the White House fence and darted across the lawn and was able to make it through the unlocked North Portico doors of the building before officers tackled him to the floor and took him into custody without injuries. Gonzalez who is from Copperas Cove, Texas, was transported to a nearby hospital after his arrest for mental evaluation.
In the second security breach, less than 24 hours after the incident involving Gonzalez, a yet to be identified man drove his car into a security gate and refused to get out of the vehicle according to reports by CNN. He was finally apprehended while bomb technicians in full gear searched the vehicle as nearby streets were according to reports. There were no reported injuries.
The Secret Service received praise for the restraint they showed in not using deadly force with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairperson of the House subpanel on national security oversight, telling the Associate Press that, “These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer.”
The family of 34 year-old Miriam Carey and their supporters have questions as well about how officers could be praised for showing restraint in the amount of force used to apprehend these two men but members of Congress gave a standing ovation after hearing the news of the killing of an unarmed mother with a child in her vehicle after a similar incident in 2013.
On October 3, 2013, 34-year-old Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Connecticut, bumped into a security barrier at the White House and apparently afraid of the officers with guns drawn surrounding her vehicle and attempting to open the doors of her vehicle, successfully drove away. As she was being pursued, officers on foot fired at her vehicle from behind several times despite knowing the child was in the backseat.
After getting blocks away from the White House, thus eliminating any possible perceived threat to the White House, officers made the decision to continue to chase Carey in her vehicle at high speeds. Carey’s vehicle was finally stopped when she was killed and an autopsy report said Carey was shot multiple times from behind including a shot to the back of the head according to reports. Miraculously, Carey’s daughter was found physically unharmed in her car seat after witnessing her mother killed in the hail of gunfire.
The Secret Service is currently under review for the two recent security breaches involving Gonzalez and the unidentified man in the vehicle, both of which did not end in any fatalities.