Missouri teenager arrested for crashing truck, making threats near White House

19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula (Photo courtesy @iJasOberoi on Twitter)

(Missouri Independent) – Federal police arrested a Missouri man on Monday night after he crashed a vehicle into security barriers in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House.

Sai Varshith Kandula (Photo courtesy Rockwood School District)
Sai Varshith Kandula

Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, of Chesterfield, has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president, or family member, destruction of federal property and trespassing, according to a Tuesday morning statement from the National Park Service.

U.S. Park Police and U.S. Secret Service agents responded to the park around 9:40 p.m. Monday, the release said. That was within hours of President Joe Biden and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ending a meeting on debt limit negotiations. 

Investigators’ first look at the incident suggested Kandula intentionally drove a truck into the park’s bollards, the release said. 

Authorities found a Nazi flag in the area of the arrest, Park Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Twiname confirmed in a brief phone interview Tuesday. Twiname could not provide more details about the flag. 

Reuters published a photo from the scene showing a Nazi flag next to the truck and reported, citing the news service’s photographer, that the flag was retrieved from inside the truck.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, Kandula’s stated goal was to “get to the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation.” When asked how he would do that, he said he planned to “kill the president.” 

He admitted to purchasing the Nazi flag online because “Nazis have a great history” and “Hitler was a strong leader.

He remained in police custody pending arraignment, Twiname said.

(Photo courtesy @iJasOberoi on Twitter)

Jacob Fischler


Jacob Fischler is a Washington correspondent for States Newsroom, a network of state-based nonprofit news outlets that includes The Missouri Independent.