Secret Service members paid a visit to Pocatello earlier this week to acquire copies of a videotape made by an Idaho State University student of the Idaho Falls man who was later arrested for attempting to assassinate President Obama.
Ramon Bailey, a production student in the mass communication department of ISU, was recently contacted by alleged assassin Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, 21, about filming a “Making A Difference” segment for the Oprah Winfrey network, ISU professors said. Ortega-Hernandez was formally charged today for firing an assault rifle at the White House on Friday in an alleged attempt to kill the president. Authorities say Ortega-Hernandez suffers from mental illness.
Prior to last week’s shooting, Bailey filmed Ortega-Hernandez in Southeast Idaho for approximately 45 minutes as he talked about his ideas of how one man can make a difference. Bailey also took notes on Ortega-Hernandez’s comments, but did not submit the video or notes to the Oprah Winfrey Network.
ISU professor Jane Davis said Bailey told her Ortega-Hernandez’s video-taped comments were anti-government, but there was no mention of his alleged plans to shoot at the White House or President Obama.
When the Secret Service visited Bailey in Pocatello, they requested three copies of the video and his notes.
Ortega-Hernandez has been charged with firing two shots from an assault rifle at the White House in an attempt to assassinate President Barack Obama or his staff.
Ortega-Hernandez made his first court appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh today, one day after he was arrested at a western Pennsylvania hotel. He will be taken back from a federal court in Pittsburgh to face the charges in Washington, D.C.
Ortega-Hernandez will remain in federal custody at least until a magistrate in Washington can determine if he should remain jailed until his trial on the charge, which carries up to life in prison.
Ortega-Hernandez sat quietly as the hearing began, his hands free but his feet shackled. The 21-year-old said only, "Yes, ma'am" when he was asked if he understood that he would be going back to Washington to face the charge.
Authorities said a man clad in black who was obsessed with Obama pulled his car within view of the White House on Friday night and fired shots from an assault rifle, cracking a window of the first family's living quarters while the president was away.
Soon after, U.S. Park Police found an abandoned vehicle, with an assault rifle inside it, near a bridge leading out of the nation's capital to Virginia. The car led investigators to Ortega.
The FBI took custody of Ortega-Hernandez's car Thursday afternoon to continue the process of reviewing evidence, said Lindsay Godwin, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office.
Ortega-Hernandez was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a hotel near Indiana, Pa., about 55 miles east of Pittsburgh, after a desk clerk recognized his picture. He had been reported missing Oct. 31 by his family.