WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.
The man was immediately apprehended and taken into custody pending criminal charges, the Secret Service said in a statement. The incident took place about 2:45 p.m. EST.
Hours later, the Secret Service identified the fence jumper as Joseph Caputo.
A witness to the incident, Victoria Pena of Houston, said the man was standing with other people visiting the White House compound when he rushed toward the fence carrying what appeared to be a binder.
"I just heard him take a big, deep breath and whisper to himself, `All right, let's do this' and he took off," Pena said. "It was chaotic. Everyone around us was yelling and kids were crying. It was pretty unexpected."
Security personnel and guard dogs ran toward Caputo and he lay on the grass awaiting them, Pena said.
The north and south fence lines at the White House were temporarily closed, Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said. In the hours after the incident, numerous armed security personnel were seen along the streets and sidewalks outside the executive mansion.
Secret Service officials noted Caputo had an envelope in his hand, which can be seen in the seven-minute-long video. The contents of that envelope are still unknown.
President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters were spending the holiday at the White House.
Criminal charges are pending at this time.
The White House is no longer on lockdown.
Following today's fence jumper, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) is calling for a meeting with Secret Service Officials.
"Even though it was a national holiday, the Secret Service showed it could move quickly to apprehend a fence jumper," Norton said. "However, the failure of the new White House perimeter fence, despite its recent modifications with spikes, is both baffling and discouraging. Unlike some measures necessary to ensure security, raising the height of the fence and fitting it with spikes seemed gratifyingly old school, obvious, and simple. Apparently it was not. Now, we need to get to the bottom of the problem once and for all. The place to start is learning who was consulted, why the current design was thought to be effective, what the flaws are, and what it will take to enhance the historic fence so that even a champion high jumper cannot scale it."
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.