WASHINGTON - A homeless man was in custody Tuesday night after climbing over the White House fence, the Secret Service said.
The man was immediately captured by uniformed Secret Service agents, who guard the complex around the clock, said agency spokesman Ed Donovan. He had a backpack that Donovan said was being examined for possible explosive material.
The suspect, identified as James Dirk Crudup, 41, was being transferred to District of Columbia police for processing. He faces charges of unlawful entry and contempt of court for violating an order to stay away from the White House, Donovan said.
A CNN news crew caught some of the drama on tape as it unfolded. Video showed agents leading the man, as they held his hands behind his back, across the North Lawn on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House, where tourists gather to take photographs.
Reporters still at work in the press room saw agents who are stationed closer to the White House with their weapons drawn. At least one agent could be seen on the roof of the building peering through a pair of binoculars.
Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House and Lafayette Park across the street were closed to pedestrians for about 90 minutes. The White House was in lockdown, and no one was allowed to leave the grounds, while authorities investigated the incident.
President Barack Obama was believed to be in the White House at the time.