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February 08, 2001 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-08

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 8, 2001 N ATION/W ORLD
Indiana man fires shots outside
White House; no one armed

WASHINGTON (AP) - A middle-aged accoun-
tant with a history of mental illness fired several
shots outside the White House yesterday and then
was shot by the Secret Service as he waved his hand-
gun menacingly, authorities said. The tense, noon-
time standoff sent tourists running for cover.
The midday drama unfolded just outside the fence
at the edge of the South Lawn, 200 yards from the
building where President Bush was inside exercising.
The man, wounded in the knee and hospitalized
under guard, was identified by law enforcement
sources as Robert W Pickett, 47, from Evansville, Ind.
He had been fired by the Internal Revenue Service in
the mid 1980s, and neighbors said he kept to himself,
resented the IRS and was obsessed with West Point,
where he had dropped out after a semester in 1972.
Pickett had acknowledged in court records suffering
from mental illness and trying to commit suicide.
Bush, working out in the White House residence,
was alerted by Secret Service agents "but understood
that he was not in any danger," spokesman Ari Fleis-
cher said. First lady Laura Bush was in Texas. Vice

President Dick Cheney was working in his White
House office.
The shooting was the latest in a string of security
scares that have brought tighter protection for U.S.
presidents. In 1995, then-President Clinton ordered
Pennsylvania Avenue closed in front of the White
House following the Oklahoma City bombing. Earlier
that year, a man was shot on the White House lawn
after scaling a fence with an unloaded gun.
The latest incident, shortly before noon on a
sunny, springlike day, triggered a tight security clam-
pdown. Tourists were evacuated from White House
rooms, and police in riot gear took up positions
around the executive mansion and beyond its gates.
Dan Halpert, a tourist from Queens, N.Y., was on
the National Mall nearby, when officers told him to get
down and clear out. "We were all running away. It was
scary," said Halpert.
The confrontation occurred on E Street where
tourists gather along the White House fence to snap
photos of the executive mansion and hope for a
glimpse of Bush jogging on the track encircling the

South Lawn. There is an unobstructed view from the
fence to the mansion.
Secret Service officers on routine patrol in a car
"heard shots fired and proceeded to surround a subject
who was wielding a weapon, a gun," White House
press secretary Ari Fleischer said. A 10-minute stand-
off ensued in which witnesses said they heard officers
try to persuade the man to put the gun down.
"It doesn't have to be this way, put the gun down,"
one witness recalled police warning the suspect.
"He was waving it in the air - it was pointed at
the White House at one point - and pointing it in
all directions," said Park Police spokesman Rob
MacLean. At another point the man placed the gun
in his mouth, MacLean said.
Pickett was shot in the right knee by a member of
the Secret Service's Emergency Response Team
when he "raised the gun again and started aiming it
at people," a Secret Service source said, talking on
condition of anonymity. The officer fired from inside
the White House compound, through the wrought-
iron fence.

Race relations, AIDS offices won't close
President Bush scrambled yesterday to defend his commitment to race rela-
tions and helping people with AIDS after his chief of staff mistakenly said the
offices devoted to those issues would be closed.
White House officials insisted the chief of staff, Andrew Card, had been mis-
informed when he told USA Today that the offices, both created by Presid1e-
Clinton, would be shuttered. The officials said he plans to keep an AIDS office,
although with a smaller staff, and to continue a focus on race relations with a
Task Force on Uniting America that will not have its own office but will involve
senior officials from several parts of the White House.
The confusion marked the first significant stumble of a White House that has
basked in mostly favorable reviews for its smooth and disciplined performance.
Bush was confronted with the issue when he appeared on the South Lawn t
9:30 a.m. for a reunion of the "tax families" he uses to illustrate the benefits of
his tax proposal. Against the photogenic backdrop of racially diverse families
and their 20 children in their Sunday best, Bush was asked: "Mr. President, could
you tell us how it is, sir, that your chief of staff didn't know what. your plans were
for the Office of National AIDS Policy and the President's Initiative for O
Clintons return items to White House
Former President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton returned about $28,000
worth of sofas, lamps, a needlepoint rug and other furnishings yesterday because
of questions over whether the gifts were meant for them or the permanent White
House collection..4
"As a result of the questions being asked, the property is being returned to
ernment custody until such time that the issues can be resolved," said J
McDaniel, the National Park Service's liaison to the White House. "It may'Well
turn out that that property is rightly the personal property of the Clintons. I think
those questions have yet to be resolved."
After they were criticized for taking $190,000 worth of china, flatware, rugs,
televisions, sofas and other gifts with them when they left, the Clintfis
announced last week that they would pay for $86,000, or nearly half the amount.
Their latest decision to send back $28,000 in gifts brings to $114,000 the value
of items the Clintons have either decided to pay for, or return.
McDaniel discussed the matter yesterday with Betty Monkman, the White House
curator, and Gary Walters, the chief usher, or executive manager of the White House.

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JAKARTA, Indonesia
Indonesian president
delays impeachment
Embattled Indonesian President
Abdurrahman Wahid appeared yesterday
to have shored up enough political sup-
port to stave off an immediate impeach-
ment hearing after military leaders said
they would join the country's two largest
political parties in supporting a lengthier,
constitutionally outlined process to
remove the president.
The military's decision came as
tens of thousands of Wahid's sup-
porters in Surabaya, the country's
second-largest city, briefly took
over the parliament complex and
burned down a building belonging
to the former Golkar ruling party.
The protest was the biggest show of
support for Wahid since the politi-
cal crisis erupted last month and it
suggests that any effort to oust the
president could lead to a new wave
of violence across this Southeast
Asian archipelago.
Atlantis to deliver
space station piece
Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off
yesterday with the most expensive and
pivotal piece of the international space
station: a $1.4 billion science laborato-
Atlantis and its crew of five soared
into a clear sky at 6:13 p.m.
"We wish you luck as you deliver
the heart and soul of the international
space station - and have fun," launch

director Mike Leinbach told the aitr*
nauts moments before liftoff.
The future of the space station,
Alpha, is riding on the 11-day mission,
three weeks late because of the need to
inspect wiring on the shuttle's booster,.
NASA's Destiny laboratory is the
first of at least three research modules
planned for the station. It is so expen-
sive that the space agency could rnit
afford to build a backup. If the lab
damaged or destroyed in flight, t.ie
space station will be set back for years.
Mayor charged with
battery of his wife.
Mayor Joe Carollo was charged
with battery and arrested yesterday for
allegedly hitting his wife in the .heq
with a teapot.
Maria Ledon Carollo, 42, suffered a
golf ball-size lump and bruise on'tlhe
side of her head, according to police.
Carollo, 45, was denied an emer-
gency bond hearing on the misde-
meanor charge and was to wait for
Thursday's hearing in jail.
"I see no reason to treat Mr. Carollo
differently than anyone else,' saidir-
cuit Judge Mark King Leban.
If convicted, Carollo is unlikely o
face the maximum penalty of a year in
jail because he has no prior record. said
spokesman Ed Griffith of the Miagi-
Dade County State Attorney's Office.
"This could go into a diversion porb-
gram, with counseling and anger contiol
classes to avoid escalation of violence t
any time in the future," Griffith said:.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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