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.

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 reportedly traveled from Missouri to Dulles International Airport, then rented the truck and drove towards the White House, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

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

(Rockwood School District)

He allegedly waved the flag and shouted as he exited the truck before officers arrived to detain him. Mr Kandula reportedly told law enforcement officers that he wanted to seize power, take over the government and kill the president, law enforcement sources told ABC.

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.

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