Everything we know about suspect who crashed U-Haul truck near White House

19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula of Missouri faces a range of charges connected to ‘intentional’ crash

Alex Woodward
Wednesday 24 May 2023 09:15 EDT
Moment truck slams into barriers near White House grounds

A 19-year-old man has been charged with threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the president, vice president or their family members after allegedly ramming a truck into bollards outside a park near the White House.

Sai Varshith Kandula was arrested after “intentionally” crashing a U-Haul box truck into barriers outside Lafayette Park in Washington DC at roughly 9.40pm on 22 May, according to US Park Police and US Secret Service.

He has also been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

News agencies photographed police officers removing a Nazi flag from the truck and examining the flag on the ground. A black backpack and a roll of duct tape also appear to have been removed from the truck. The truck’s cargo area appeared to be empty.

He allegedly told police that he wanted to “seize power” and “kill the president,” according to a statement of facts filed by a Secret Service agent in court documents released on 23 May.

He purchased the flag online because he admires “authoritarian nature, Eugenics, and their one world order,’” according to court filings. Mr Kandula also said he admires Adolf Hitler as a “strong leader”.

Asked by police how we would plan “seize power,” he allegedly said that he would “kill the president if that’s what I have to do and would hurt anyone that would stand in my way,” according to court filings.

He allegedly told police that he had planend the attack for six months, outlined in a “green book,” according to filings.

Mr Kandula, from the St Louis suburb of Chesterfield, Missouri, graduated from Marquette Senior High School in 2022, according to the Rockwood School District.

A LinkedIn profile that appears to match that description shows an interest in a career in data analytics with experience and certification in programming and coding languages.

He allegedly traveled from Missouri to Dulles International Airport with a one-way ticket, then rented the truck and drove towards the White House, according to authorities.

Sai Varshith Kandula is pictured in a Marquette High School yearbook image from 2022, courtesy of the Rockwood School District

Police have declined to publicly provide further details about the nature of the alleged attack or information about the suspect. Law enforcement officials also indicated the suspect made threatening statements during his arrest.

“There were no injuries to any Secret Service or White House personnel and the cause and manner of the crash remain under investigation,” Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service chief of communications, said in a statement on Monday night.

The nearby Hay Adams hotel evacuated guests from the building shortly after the crash but allowed them back into the building by 1am ET.

A bystander taking a selfie near a rented box truck is moved away by a US Secret Service agent as law enforcement agencies investigate the truck that crashed into security barriers at Lafayette Park across from the White House

Following the crash and the release of the suspect’s name, a wave of accounts on Elon Musk’s Twitter sought to portray the incident as a “false flag” or a “hoax”, echoing similar baseless statements in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Texas mall earlier this month after the gunman was revealed as an alleged neo-Nazi with SS and swastika tattoos.

Right-wing pundits including Donald Trump Jr and other personalities and accounts on the social media network continue to falsely suggest that news organisations are labelling the crash suspect as a “white supremacist” in an attempt to undermine both the attack and threats of white supremacist violence.

This was initially published on 23 May and has been updated with developments

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