MAN SHOT IN FRONT OF WHITE HOUSE
YUMA DAILY SUN
Wednesday, December 21, 1994
A man, said to have been running toward the White House
brandishing a long knife or machete, was shot today by police in
the third shooting incident at or near the executive mansion in
This time, no shots were aimed toward the White House.
This incident occurred about 9 a.m. EST, President Clinton was in
the Oval Office at the time. An aide said he was informed but
that no changes were made in his schedule
The man was taken to George Washington University Hospital,
where he was in critical condition and was undergoing surgery,
said hospital spokesman Rich James. The spokesman identified him
as Marcelino Corniel, 33, a homeless man.
He Was wounded once in the chest and once in right leg, James
"He was recognized by Secret Service people as someone who was
(outside) the White House a lot," spending much of his time in
Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the presidential
mansion with the homeless people and protesters who live there
Others who live in the park described him as a Los Angeles
native who first showed up in the park two or three months ago.
Said. Robert Hines of the U.S Park Police said the man was
running across Pennsylvania Avenue when officers stopped him.
"There was a struggle," Hines said. "They told the man to drop
his knife two or three times. The man did not drop his knife. so
he shot him.
"He refused to drop the knife. He was close enough that the
officer felt threatened."
Hines said the two shots were fired by park police.
"We don't know what started it," he said. "All we know is that
our officers tried to stop him as he got to the edge of the White
One of the man's friends, Walter Gregory Jackson, said "he left
due to police harassment" about a month ago, then returned two
One of the homeless men was shouting at police, "This is not a
police state, this is not a police state."
Police closed off Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the city's main
thoroughfares, after the shooting.
It was the third shooting incident at the White House in two
Eyewitnesses said that the man, wearing a tan coat, was
brandishIng what appeared to be a machete. They said he appeared
to be excited and was walking toward three policeman with a
knifelike object on the sidewalk immediately in front of the
The police ordered him to freeze and when he continued walking,
two shots were fired by police, witnesses said.
"He wouldn't stop, so they shot him," said Martha Poppink-
Melcher of Tecumseh, Mich., who had just left the White House
gate following a tour with the Stanford University basketball
Wade Varner, 37, of Oregon, who protests in Layette Park across
Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, said that for the Last
three of four days park police have "been hassling" homeless
people in Lafayette Park. including the man who was shot in front
of the White House.
Until court orders intervened, some protesters built elaborate
encampments bearing signs that could be read from the White
House. The signs have been reduced in size and number, but one
woman, Concepcion Picciotto, has been there since 1981.
"People can't take any more injustice," she said Tuesday. "I'm
protesting against proliferation of weapons all over the world."
Apostle John C. Zahos -- he showed his Social Security card to
verify it was his real name -- says he has been there daily for
three months because he wants to give President Clinton a Bible.
"I want the president to be spiritually prepared from attack from
his enemies," he said, pausing between chanting hymns in full
Walter Gregory Jackson, who claims to be directly descended from
John Quincy Adams and James Madison, said he had a conversation
with Corniel over breakfast Tuesday about police harassing the
residents of the park.
"He was upset by their hypocrisy," said Jackson, more interested
in pursuing a discourse about how his family had advised
presidents for generations.
Courts have ruled on activities in the park. The Supreme Court
said in 1984 that "sleep-ins" in parks near the White House may
be banned without anyone's free-speech rights being violated.
The court said the government's interest in protecting parks
located in the heart of the nation's capital outweighs the
constitutional rights of the homeless or other activists.
Michael Martinez, a former assistant U.S. attorney who handled
litigation connected to Lafayette Park demonstrations, noted that
since the s there has been a semipermanent population there.
"Many of them came to the park with messages of nonviolence," he
said. "But they obviously have not always been peaceful. There
have been incidents of violence."
After the incident Tuesday morning, the park quickly returned to
Searching FOR CLUES: Authorities in Lafayette Park examine the
belongings of homeless man Marcelino Corniel, 33, who was shot by
police after allegedly brandishing a knife Tuesday across from
the White House. Corniel was in critical condition. Caption
under Associated Press photograph.
Pennsylvania Ave. Closure || Peace Park