Bel Air man allegedly scaled White House fence, said he wanted to speak to president

The Baltimore Sun
Dominic Adesanya says he felt “targeted” by the government and wanted to talk to president

A Bel Air man who in July tried to breach the White House grounds returned Wednesday and this time scaled the fence, saying he felt "targeted" by the government and wanted to talk to President Barack Obama, according to court documents.

Dominic Adesanya, identified by Secret Service officials as the man who climbed the White House's north fence Wednesday night and fought off guard dogs, was eventually placed into handcuffs by officers. A federal judge ordered Thursday that he remain in custody at least until a hearing Monday and that he undergo mental screening.

The 23-year-old briefly attended Stevenson University in Owings Mills, where he was a member of the track team, a school spokesman said. More recently, he had been unemployed and living with his parents in their Bel Air home, according to court documents from prior incidents. They show that Adesanya suffered from delusions, was found incompetent to stand trial last month on charges from July, and was paranoid about cameras being placed in his home.

His parents described their son Thursday as mentally ill and in need of professional help.

Adesanya threatened to jump the fence of the president's residence on July 27 after climbing over a security barrier marked "restricted area do not enter" near near the White House lawn, officials said.

After the July incident, he told authorities that "the first barrier he had jumped over was easy and that the next fence to the south grounds of the White House would not be a problem," according to charging documents. He said he went to the White House because he was "being targeted due to his race by the Rothschild family who owned the federal reserve bank," according to the documents. Adesanya is African-American.

He also said he "wanted the cameras that were placed in his house removed."

Three days later in July, Adesanya was again arrested in Washington — this time for allegedly assaulting police officers as he attempted to enter the U.S. Treasury Building.

According to documents, he "took up a fighting stance with raised hands, clenched fists and began yelling 'I'm not leaving until I get my check.' " During the scuffle, several officers suffered scrapes and cuts, officials said. Adesanya was taken to a local hospital for a medical evaluation for his injuries.

In the July 27 incident, Adesanya was charged with unlawful entry, and on July 30, with four counts of assaulting a police officer and unlawful entry.

He now faces federal charges of unlawfully entering the restricted grounds of the White House and harming animals used in law enforcement. Each carries a possible one-year sentence.

This week's incident comes about a month after an intruder armed with a knife scaled the White House fence and made it inside the executive mansion, raising questions about security at the heavily guarded complex and spurring the resignation of Julia Pierson, then the director of the Secret Service.

The U.S. attorney's office and Secret Service officials gave this account of what happened Wednesday:

About 7:15 p.m., Adesanya climbed over the White House fence. Surveillance video from about that time showed agents surrounding him on the north lawn of the White House, which was put on lockdown for about 90 minutes.

He allegedly kicked a dog named Jordan, who confronted him first. Another dog, Hurricane, knocked Adesanya down. The suspect then threw the dog to the ground and repeatedly struck the dog with a closed fist. Both dogs were taken to a veterinarian for treatment after the incident.

Adesanya told officers he wanted to speak to the president and said he would "keep coming back until he saw President Obama."

At the family's gray house with blue shutters on West Farrow Court, a quiet cul-de-sac, Victor Adesanya and Carolyn Dawson said Thursday that their son is mentally ill. They said his problems developed when he was denied a chance to try out for Stevenson University's football team, leaving him devastated.

Now they just want their son to get help. They've tried since December, when he "snapped," Victor Adesanya said, but Dominic has refused help.

"In his mind, he is right. Everything he is thinking is real," Victor Adesanya said.

Said his mother: "We pray he gets the mental help treatment he needs. ... Prayers are what he needs."

The parents said he is an avid reader of the Bible and started attending church regularly a few months ago.

Public records offer a few details about Dominic Adesanya, a 2009 Fallston High School graduate.

According to court documents related to the recent competency evaluation after July's charges, Adesanya denied having a history of mental health treatment, but said he had been admitted to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in August because of the "Rothschild family," who were "oppressing" him due to "racism and prejudice."

He told a mental health professional that he believed the Rothschilds read his emails and placed cameras in his home. He said he was being harassed.

Adesanya failed to show up for his September court date, and the judge issued a bench warrant, online records show.

Adesanya was a transfer student at Stevenson, which he attended for less than a year before leaving in December 2013, a school spokesman said. He is listed as a freshman sprinter on the university's 2012-2013 men's track and field roster. An item on the athletics department website said he placed fourth in a 400-meter race and competed in a 4x400 relay at the May 2013 MAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

He was born Dominic Segun Adetokumbo Dawson in Atlanta, Ga., according to a copy of his birth certificate filed in Harford County Circuit Court. The document accompanied a request for the youth, then 17, to legally change his last name from Dawson to Adesanya so he would "have the same last name as his father," according to the application.

Reuters and Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Colin Campbell, Yvonne Wenger and David Anderson contributed to this article.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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