India-origin driver who crashed truck wanted to 'seize power', 'kill' Biden

A box truck is seen crashed into a security barrier at a park across from the White House, Monday night, May 22, 2023 in Washington. (Photo/ Benjamin Berger via AP)

An Indian-origin man from Missouri flew to Washington DC, rented a truck and drove straight to the White House, where he crashed the truck into a security barrier and began waving around a Nazi flag in the culmination of a six-month plan to "seize power" from the government, US authorities said.

Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, removed the flag from a backpack shortly after smashing the box truck into the barrier near the north side of Lafayette Square on Monday around 10 pm [local time], according to charging documents.

He was quickly arrested by a US Park Police officer who rushed to the crash scene and saw him take out the flag.

Kandula later told Secret Service agents that he'd flown from St. Louis on a one-way ticket that night after months of planning.

He wanted to "get to the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation," and he said he would "kill the president, if that's what I have to do," charges state.

Kandula, who is from the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, Missouri, said he bought the flag online because he admires the Nazis' "great history" as well as their "authoritarian nature, eugenics, and their one world order."

During a hearing, an attorney representing the driver told a judge that there was no evidence his actions were intentional. The DC Superior Court judge disagreed and said Kandula posed "a significant risk to the community".

No one was injured in the crash. No explosives or weapons were found in the truck or on Kandula.

Kandula rented the U-Haul in Herndon, Virginia, and had a valid contract in his own name, the company said.

People can rent a truck from U-Haul at age 18, and there were no red flags on his rental record that would have prevented the contract, according to U-Haul.

Rammed twice

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.

A witness, Chris Zaboji, said the driver smashed into the barrier at least twice.

Zaboji, a 25-year-old pilot who lives in Washington, was finishing a run close by Lafayette Square when he heard the loud crash of the U-Haul truck hitting the barrier.

He said he took out his phone and captured the moment the truck struck the barrier again before he heard sirens approaching.

"When the van backed up and rammed it again, I decided I wanted to get out of there," he said.

Officers from the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department searched the truck after the crash.

Kandula was arrested on multiple charges, and prosecutors charged him with damaging US property.

Biden was briefed on the crash on Tuesday morning by the Secret Service and Park Police, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

"He's relieved that no one was injured last night," she said.

The US Secret Service monitors hundreds of people who have made threats to the president, but it’s not clear whether Kandula was on their radar at all or if he had threatened the president before, which would trigger the Secret Service's involvement.

Lafayette Square offers perhaps the best view of the White House available to the public, and Kandula sent multiple people running when he drove onto the sidewalk to reach the barrier.

The square has also long been one of the nation's most prominent venues for demonstrations.

It was closed off in May 2020 by a perimetre fence installed after the Black Lives Matter protests.

The fence has since been removed but barriers blocking traffic from the side streets remain.


Source: TRT World