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Alleged White House Shooter Charged With Trying to Assassinate Obama

Undated U.S. Park Police image of Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, November 15, 2011.
Undated U.S. Park Police image of Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, November 15, 2011.

A 21-year-old man accused of firing shots at the White House last week has been charged with attempting to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama or his staff.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez made his first federal court appearance Thursday in the eastern state of Pennsylvania. He was detained in a hotel in the state just one day earlier after someone recognized his picture.

The suspect, a native of Idaho, will be sent back to Washington to face the charge. If convicted, he could get life in prison.

News reports indicate Ortega-Hernandez may have harbored a dislike of - or obsession with - President Obama.

The U.S. Secret Service, which protects the president and other top officials, said two bullets hit the White House, including one they say broke a window but was stopped by a layer of bulletproof glass.

The president and his wife, Michelle, were not home during the shooting incident last Friday. They were in California before heading to Hawaii, where Obama hosted an Asia-Pacific economic summit.

Authorities began pursuing Ortega-Hernandez after linking him to an abandoned car found Friday with a weapon in it. The suspect is described as an Hispanic male with an arrest record in three U.S. states and several tattoos, including the word "Israel" on his neck. His family had reported him missing on October 31.