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Officer, Interloper Injured In Shooting At White House President And Family Were Home At The Time Of The Security Breach

Wed., May 24, 1995, midnight

Three days after security was tightened to historic levels, an armed man scaled a White House gate late Tuesday and was shot by a Secret Service officer. A Secret Service agent also was wounded.

Secret Service spokesman Dave Adams identified the suspect as Leland William Modjeski of Falls Church, Va. The wounded officer, whose name was not released, and Modjeski were taken to George Washington University hospital with non-lethal injuries, Adams said.

President Clinton and his family were inside at the time, Adams said.

The incident was the third within a year involving a security breach at the heavily guarded White House. The suspect jumped a section of the fence along the southeast corner of the grounds, far from the section of Pennsylvania Avenue that was closed Saturday.

Adams said the suspect climbed over the fence about 10:45 p.m. At some point, the suspect fired at a uniformed Secret Service officer and hit him in an arm. Police believe the suspect was shot by the wounded officer.

Adams said it is unclear who had fired first. He said he does not know how many rounds were fired or what type of gun was used by the suspect.

The officer was shot in an arm, while the suspect was wounded in his upper body, said hospital spokeswoman Merle Goldberg. Both were in stable condition and it was not immediately known whether either would need surgery, she said. The first paramedic on the scene, Thomas Crabb, said both had been shot in the left arm.

Under heavy guard, Modjeski, 37, was brought into the hospital in handcuffs. About an hour later, the undersecretary of the Treasury for enforcement, Ron Noble, arrived at the hospital to oversee the investigation.

An hour after the shooting, uniformed Secret Service officers stood in small clusters on streets surrounding the White House as patrol cars with lights flashing drove past from time to time. Reporters, camera crews and a handful of passers-by were kept across the street from the rear fence area where the shooting occurred.

Spotlights illuminated parts of the South Lawn but the mansion itself was dark.

The shooting occurred just after President Clinton had returned to the executive mansion after addressing Democratic congressional campaign committees.

The president was notified about the incident during a White House meeting with chief of staff Leon Panetta. The meeting broke up about 11:30 p.m., said an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another administration official said Modjeski made it over the fence and moved toward the White House before being stopped by security. He said the suspect did not get close to the executive mansion.

Clinton closed Pennsylvania Avenue and a small portion of road behind the White House on Saturday, citing increased threats of terrorism. The portion of the fence jumped by the suspect Monday night was not adjacent to a closed street, officials said.

MEMO: Changed in the Spokane edition.

Changed in the Spokane edition.



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