“The subject was immediately apprehended by Secret Service personnel and taken into custody,” a Secret Service spokesperson told the news broadcaster in a statement. They added that the incident did not affect White House security operations.
The law enforcement agency said the man, who has not been identified, has been charged with assault on a police officer and unlawful entry.
This comes after Secret Service announced last week that construction to raise the security fence at the White House to 13-feet with wider and stronger pickets would begin in due course, reported the Associated Press. The current fence stands at 6-feet, 6 inches tall.
The construction project will cost about $64 million and improve security around the White House. The decision to build a taller fence was due to a series of security breaches, where people tried to illegally gain access to the White House by scaling its fences.
In September 2014, a Texas man carrying a knife made it into the White House after scaling the fence. This prompted security to place a second barrier made of metal bike racks in front of the current fence to prevent potential jumpers.
Similarly, Secret Service said they arrested a person for scaling and jumping the bike rack security barrier in 2017.
“An individual attempted to jump the bike rack security barrier along the @WhiteHouse North Fence Line. Immediately taken into custody,” the tweet said at the time.
An individual attempted to jump the bike rack security barrier along the @WhiteHouse North Fence Line. Immediately taken into custody.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) November 19, 2017
President Donald Trump was inside the White House at the time of the incident, reported UPI.
Man Sets Himself on Fire Near White House
The man has been identified as 33-year-old Arnav Gupta, reported the Associated Press, citing authorities.
At approximately 12:20 p.m. a man lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Ave., Secret Service personnel are on scene assisting @NatlParkService and @usparkpolicepio in rendering first aid.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) May 29, 2019
The Daily Mail reported Gupta stood upright for some time before authorities could reach him. He claimed that he was wearing a protective suit, which would have possibly prolonged the shocking spectacle that was caught on camera by witnesses.
Eyewitnesses could be heard screaming and sirens were heard moments later as law enforcement officials arrived on the scene.
— PoPville (@PoPville) May 29, 2019
There was a suspicious package on fire near him which was also extinguished, according to TMZ.
Gupta had been reported missing by his family around the time that he was seen setting himself on fire at Ellipse Park.
Montgomery County, Maryland, police said earlier Wednesday that investigators were searching for Gupta and were concerned for his welfare. They said he was last seen alive that morning when he left his Bethesda-area home.
Park police spokesman Sgt. Eduardo Delgado said Washington police are now handling the investigation.
The deceased man’s motive for the deadly stunt is unclear.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.