Driver who crashed near White House told officials he was prepared to kill Biden and ‘seize power’

The 19-year-old Missouri man accused of deliberately driving a rented box truck into a White House barrier allegedly told authorities that he admires Nazis and wanted to “seize power” and “kill the president,” court documents released Tuesday show.

Sai Varshith Kandula, of Chesterfield, Missouri, rented the U-Haul truck Monday night immediately after flying from St. Louis to Dulles International Airport on a one-way ticket, a Secret Service agent said in a statement of facts filed in federal district court in Washington D.C.

The statement was included with a criminal complaint charging Kandula with depredation of property of the United States in excess of $1,000.

Around 9:35 p.m., he drove the vehicle onto a sidewalk outside the White House and into a metal barrier just north of the White House, according to the document.

Kandula put the truck in reverse and crashed into the barrier a second time before United States Park Police officers took him into custody, the documents state.

Sai Varshith Kandula. (Rockwood School District)

Sai Varshith Kandula. (Rockwood School District)

When Secret Service agents asked Kandula about a flag with a swastika he removed from a backpack, he allegedly said he’d bought it online because Nazis “have a great history,” according to the court document.

He allegedly said he “admires their ‘authoritarian nature, Eugenics, and their one world order,'” the document states, adding that Kandula identified Hitler as a “strong leader” he admires.

Kandula allegedly told authorities he had been planning the attack for six months and detailed the plans in a “green book,” the document states.

He “stated his goal was to ‘get into the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation,'” the document states. “When agents asked how KANDULA would seize power, he stated he would ‘Kill the President if that’s what I have to do and would hurt anyone that would stand in my way.'”

In the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, where Kandula lives, FBI agents were seen entering and leaving his home Tuesday and acquaintances struggled to link the alleged attack with the “chill” teen they know.

Police in Chesterfield have no records of any interaction with Kandula or calls for service to the family home, Capt. Daniel Dunn said.

Dunn said that federal agents are in charge of the investigation.

Image: A truck is seen crashed into a security barrier at a park across from the White House on May 22, 2023. (Benjamin Berger via AP)

Image: A truck is seen crashed into a security barrier at a park across from the White House on May 22, 2023. (Benjamin Berger via AP)

Errion Barfield, who was on the Marquette High School track team with Kandula, remembered him as quiet and unassuming.

“He was nice and chill,” Barfield said in a Facebook message to NBC News. “Ain’t ever expected him to do something like that.”

Kandula was a member of the sizable South Asian population of Chesterfield, a middle-class suburb about 20 miles west of St. Louis.

Pranav Nagila, who was a year ahead of Kandula, said he couldn’t make sense of his one-time schoolmate possibly having a Nazi flag in his possession.

“I didn’t see him as off-putting or anything like that,” said Nagila, who just finished his sophomore year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “He just seemed like a chill person.”

Kandula appeared in Washington D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday and is expected to make an initial appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Kandula has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

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