Via WaPo, this is really scary how out of touch the supervisors at the Secret Service were, and you have to realize, it was days before they would even realize / admit that bullets had struck the First Family's residence: By 8:30 p.m., most of the Secret Service agents and officers on duty were coming to the tail end of a quiet shift.
An undercover agent in charge of monitoring the White House perimeter for suspicious activity, McClellan Plihcik, had left with a more junior officer to fill up his service car at a gas station about a mile away.
On the White House's southern border, a few construction workers were milling about. D.C. Water trucks, arriving on Constitution Avenue to clean sewer lines, had just parked in the lane closed off by red cones on the White House side of the street.
It was near that spot that Ortega pulled over his black 1998 Honda Accord.
Ortega had left his Idaho home about three weeks earlier, during a time his friends said he had been acting increasingly paranoid. He kept launching into tirades about the U.S. government trying to control its citizens, saying President Obama "had to be stopped."
He had arrived in Washington on Nov. 9. He had 180 rounds of ammunition and a Romanian-made Cugir semiautomatic rifle, similar to an AK-47, that he had purchased at an Idaho gun shop.
Now, in striking distance of the president's home, Ortega raised his weapon.
A woman in a taxi stopped at a nearby stoplight immediately took to Twitter to describe the actions of "this crazy guy."
"Driver in front of my cab, STOPPED and fired 5 gun shots at the White House," she wrote, adding, "It took the police a while to respond."
Another witness — a visiting neuroscientist who was riding by in an airport shuttle van — later told investigators he had seen a man shooting out of a car toward the White House.
On the rooftop of the White House, Officers Todd Amman and Jeff Lourinia heard six to eight shots in quick succession, likely semiautomatic fire, they thought. They scurried out of their shedlike booth, readied their rifles and scanned the southern fence line.