Man Held After Allegedly Breaking Into Reagan’s Bel-Air Estate
A 32-year-old Los Angeles man was arrested for allegedly breaking into the Bel-Air estate of former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, while the couple was home, authorities reported Friday.
Although the Reagans were not injured in Wednesday’s break-in, Gregory Stuart Gordon was charged Friday under a federal statute with threatening to kill or inflict bodily harm on a former President. A Secret Service spokesman would not say whether the suspect was armed.
Gordon apparently jumped the fence at the Reagans’ posh retirement home and ran toward the front door, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven M. Bauer, who processed the legal complaint against Gordon.
The former president’s wife saw Gordon as he approached the front of the house, Bauer said. But the suspect was intercepted by Secret Service agents as he reached the door, he said. But according to to Reagan spokesman Mark Weinberg, Gordon was able to briefly enter the Reagans’ home.
Reagan was elsewhere on the property at the time and did not encounter the suspect, Reagan spokesman Mark Weinberg said. Gordon apparently escaped the attention of several Secret Service officers guarding the Reagans when he climbed a fence onto the estate, Weinberg added.
“There was no one hurt in the incident that I know of,” Weinberg said. He added that the Reagans were both “fine” Friday, “celebrating Mrs. Reagan’s birthday and pleased the Secret Service responded as they did.”
While Gordon was being taken away by the Secret Service, he uttered words to the effect that he planned to return to the Reagans’ home, Bauer said.
Gordon, who according to some reports is single and unemployed, was charged at a hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Volny V. Brown Jr. He was being held without bail. A federal public defender was assigned to represent him.
Bauer said that Gordon would be given a competency examination within the next 10 days to determine his mental state. The U.S. attorney’s office has 10 days in which to issue a formal indictment against Gordon, Bauer said.
A man who gave his name as Gregory Gordon called The Associated Press on Thursday night, the wire service reported, claiming he had scaled the fence at the mansion before he was seized by Secret Service agents. The man said he was calling from the county’s Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he had been taken for a psychiatric evaluation.
Saying that he jumped the fence because he wanted publicity, the caller said he believes Reagan is the anti-Christ “and I’m the second coming of Christ.”
The Reagans’ 35-year-old, single-story mansion stands in the 600 block of St. Cloud Road on an acre of land behind a wall and security fence on a hillside.
A neighbor said she was unaware of any burglaries or other similar incidents in the area recently. “Nothing like that happens in our neighborhood,” the woman said.
The last time a security incident occurred at the Reagans’ house was in December, 1988, when a pilot unwittingly flew his light plane into the restricted airspace over their home. The pilot, identified as Doug Davis, was detained at John Wayne airport on the request of federal authorities after he landed his Cessna Skylane 182 aircraft.
Davis was questioned by the Secret Service, but no charges were filed against him.
In 1981, Reagan was shot by a 25-year-old drifter outside the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel. His press secretary, James S. Brady was critically wounded, but survived. Two security officers were also injured in the incident.
The assailant, John W. Hinckley Jr., was found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting Reagan and critically wounding Brady. Hinckley has since been confined to a mental hospital in Washington.
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