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Mental Health Hearing for Accused White House Shooter Is Friday

Artist's rendering shows accused White House shooter Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez (C) before Magistrate Judge Alan Kay (L), at federal court in Washington, November 21, 2011. From left are, U.S. Assistant Attorney George P. Varghese, a public defender Da

A U.S. federal judge has scheduled a hearing to assess the mental capacity of a man charged with firing shots at the White House in an apparent attempt to assassinate President Barack Obama.

The judge Wednesday ordered the December 16 hearing in the case of Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez to further determine the state of his mental health and ensure he can be held legally liable for his alleged actions.

Officials say that on November 11, Ortega-Ramirez fired shots at the White House. The U.S. Secret Service, which protects the president and other top officials, says two bullets hit the executive mansion, including one that authorities say broke a window but was stopped by a layer of bulletproof glass.

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

If convicted, Ortega-Hernandez could get life in prison.

Ortega-Hernandez was detained in a hotel in the eastern state of Pennsylvania a few days after the shooting incident occurred when someone recognized him from his picture. Authorities began pursuing him after linking him to an abandoned car found with a weapon in it.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.