A 19-year-old suspect who drove a U-Haul into a security barrier near the White House will appear in D.C. Federal Court on Wednesday. Newly released court documents shed light on investigators’ belief that the suspect’s actions were intentional.
According to a U.S. Secret Service investigator mentioned in the court documents, the suspect, identified as Sai Kandula, expressed his goal of “getting to the White House, seizing power, and being put in charge of the nation.” When questioned about how he would achieve this, Kandula allegedly made comments about killing the president if necessary and harming anyone in his way.
No explosives, weapons, or ammunition were found in the U-Haul used by the suspect. Kandula, a former student of Marquette High School in Missouri, appeared in court on Tuesday, displaying a slim build, longer hair, and a beard. He acknowledged his understanding of the proceedings.
The court documents also revealed that Kandula expressed sympathy towards Nazis and referred to Hitler as a strong leader. He claimed to have a “book” that he wanted to share with specific people. Investigators discovered Kandula’s plans for entering the White House and his intended actions within the premises in a green book.
The U-Haul truck crashed into security barriers on the north side of Lafayette Square, near the White House, on Monday evening. Cellphone videos captured the incident, showing the truck hitting the barrier, reversing, and striking it again. The suspect then retrieved a Nazi flag from a backpack before being arrested by authorities. No injuries were reported, but nearby buildings, including The Hay-Adams Hotel, were evacuated as a precaution.
According to court documents, Kandula claimed to have arrived at Dulles from St. Louis on a one-way ticket. He allegedly rented the U-Haul from a nearby location. The rental company confirmed that Kandula rented the truck with a valid license and payment.
Although the suspect does not have a criminal history, he remains in custody until his appearance in a D.C. Federal Courthouse on Wednesday due to the seriousness of the allegations. The security barriers, had they been breached, would have been followed by additional layers of protection before reaching the White House. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Lafayette Square, historically known as a prominent venue for demonstrations near the Executive Mansion, was closed for nearly a year following nationwide protests over policing after the death of George Floyd. It reopened in May 2021.