There were clues that something was up with Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, the man who has been accused of attempted assassination, in the months leading up to his White House shooting spree last Friday night. After discovering bullets lodged in the White House, the Secret Service tracked Ortega-Hernandez down, arresting him on Wednesday and ruling the event as an attempt to kill President Obama. The day of the arrest, the police suspected that Ortega-Hernandez was "mentally ill" and had a "fixation with the White House," reported ABC News. Among other troubling signs, details have come to light since the arrest confirming Ortega-Hernandez's mental instability and obsession with Obama.
Before making his way to D.C., Ortega Hernandez had a suspicious departure "abruptly left" his hometown of Idaho Falls and "drove away without explanation," notes The Washington Post. But in the months leading up to his quick getaway, Ortega-Hernandez had started acting different, his sister told the Idaho Falls Post Register.
"He’s been acting a little strange lately, just keeping to himself," she said. “It was just Internet, Internet, totally the Internet all day, every day. It seemed like he was obsessed with something, but no one would ask him. We’d come in, and he would turn off whatever he was looking at. He was always trying to keep it away from us."
In addition to his Internet obsession, he had changed his appearance, started doing martial arts and eating healthier, continued his sister.
“That’s what started making me think there was something wrong,” his sister, Yesenia Hernandez, told the newspaper. “I’d ask, ‘Is it for the [MMA] fighting?’ He said, ‘No. I’m just trying something different.’ It was weird. Now, he looks like, I guess, like a terrorist. It’s like he’s trying to play out the part or something.”
Witnesses confirm this behavior, saying that Ortega-Hernandez had become "increasingly agitated" before he left home, reports The New York Times.
Beyond mere odd behavior, other signs point to the shooters paranoia and obsessions with Obama. Other witnesses who knew Ortega-Hernandez told the FBI that he wanted to "hurt" and "needed to kill" Obama. He also referred to the President as the "anti-christ" and "the devil." Not just critical of the President, Ortega-Hernandez believed the entire federal government was conspiring against him.
As his references to Christ and the devil indicate, Ortega-Hernandez was a religious man. He had tattoos of Israel, rosary beads, and hands clasped in prayer on his chest and had once called himself the "modern day Jesus Christ" in a video plea to get on Oprah's show.
Ortega-Hernandez had a criminal past before this incident. He "dabbled with gang life," reports USA Today. And he had run-ins with the law in Idaho, Texas, and Utah, including charges related to drug offenses, adds The Times.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.