U-Haul crash suspect Sai Varshith Kandula wanted to seize power, praised Hitler and Nazis

The man accused of driving through the park barriers near the White House on Monday night told police he wanted to get inside the mansion to seize power and hailed Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler as a “strong leader”, according to the charging documents.

An affidavit released Tuesday says Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, of Chesterfield, Missouri, told officers he would “even kill the president if that’s what I have to do.”

United States Park Police arrested Mr. Kandula after a U-Haul he was driving crashed into security barriers on the north side of Lafayette Park at 16th Street NW shortly before 10 p.m.

The accident happened a good distance from the gates of the White House, but the incident resulted in road and sidewalk closures, and the nearby Hay-Adams Hotel had to be evacuated.

The affidavit says a park police officer saw Mr Kandula rolling on the sidewalk, sending several pedestrians fleeing the scene. The truck hit the metal barriers that prevent vehicles from entering Lafayette Square, backed up and hit them again.
The officer turned on his flashing lights and saw Mr. Kandula get out and go to the back of the vehicle.

“The officer saw Kandula remove a red and white flag with a Nazi swastika from the center of a black backpack he was carrying,” the affidavit states. “At this point, the USPP officer ordered Kandula to get down, arrest and search him.”

The vehicle was searched to ensure that there were no explosives inside, and Mr. Kandula was taken in for questioning.

According to authorities, he told police he had come from the St. Louis area on a one-way ticket to “take power and be in charge of the nation.”

Asked about the Nazi flag, Mr Kandula said he bought it online because the Nazis “have a great history”.

Asked to elaborate, Mr Kandula told police he admired their “authoritarian nature, their eugenics and their one world order”. When asked if he admires leaders, he replied, “Hitler, because he was a strong leader,” the affidavit states.

U-Haul said Tuesday that Mr. Kandula rented the truck in Herndon, Va., in his own name. Its public records had no red flags for its refusal, the company said.

Park police say Kandula has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving of a motor vehicle; threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict bodily harm on a president, vice president or his family; destruction of federal property; and intrusion.

President Biden is relieved no one was hurt, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Mr Biden was present at the White House during the incident but was not informed of it until Tuesday morning.

“He is relieved that no one was injured last night and grateful to the officers and law enforcement who responded so quickly,” Ms Jean-Pierre said.

The White House neighborhood is no stranger to security incidents.

Fences were put up around Lafayette Park during the height of protests following the death of George Floyd in May 2020. Former President Donald Trump walked through the park to a church that had been damaged during the protests after officers cleared the area.

Over the years, police have caught numerous fence jumpers on the grounds of the White House itself. In 2014, a man managed to enter the White House through the north portico doors before being caught on the ground floor.


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