WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The man who jumped the White House fence and made it into the entrance of the executive mansion managed to run through several rooms before he was tackled.
New details about the September 19 incident revealed Omar Gonzalez, 42, took Secret Service officers posted inside the front door by surprise because an alarm system had been muted.
Secret Service officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the alarm box near the front entrance of the White House is designed to provide warning to officer inside, who are trained to lock the door immediately upon learning of an intruder on the grounds.
However, the "crash box" system was muted at the time at the request of the usher's office, the official said. The official told the Washington Post that the usher's office is near the entrance, and complained that the boxes frequently malfunctioned and loudly went off.
Gonzalez jumped the fence that runs along the north lawn of the White House along the pedestrian-only stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue. He dashed across the lawn, carrying a three-inch knife, and made it up the stairs of the North Portico and into the unlocked front entrance.
Then, officials revealed Monday, Gonzalez barreled past a surprised female Secret Service agent and then taking a left, running past a stairwell leading to the first family's private residence and into the East Room. He ran the 80 feet through the ornately gilded space, which is often used for ceremonies and presidential addresses.
He was finally tackled at the door of the Green Room, a parlor that overlooks the South Lawn and is filled with art and antique furniture.
Secret Service originally said Gonzalez had been tackled immediately after entering the mansion.
While fence-jumping has become more common at the White House, most intruders are tackled before they make it across the lawn. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson will face tough questions from a House of Representatives committee Tuesday, when she will be expected to answer for how Gonzalez became the first intruder to make it all the way inside.