Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, a U.S. Army veteran who has said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, will remain in jail without bond, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson of the District ordered.
Gonzalez did not speak during the 20-minute court appearance.
A federal grand jury charged Gonzalez on Tuesday with one federal felony count of entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly weapon — a knife — as well as D.C. charges of carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or business and unlawful possession of ammunition.
The federal charge carries a prison sentence of as much as 10 years and the D.C. counts up to five years and one year in prison, respectively.
Over vehement protests by Gonzalez’s defense attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender David Bos of the District, Robinson ordered that Gonzalez undergo a mental competency screening Oct. 17 by the D.C. Department of Mental Health.
“The court is within its discretion to order a [psychiatric] screening,” Robinson said.
Bos said that his client was competent to stand trial, and that he would immediately seek to stay the judge’s order, calling it “wrong on the facts and wrong on the law.”
Bos said there was no basis to conclude that Gonzalez is unable to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his defense. Bos has opposed similar efforts in the past as a “fishing expedition” by the government to gain access to a defendant and obtain information it would not otherwise have, including in preparation for a potential insanity defense.
At the time of his arrest, Secret Service said, Gonzalez told an agent that he was concerned that the “atmosphere was collapsing” and that he needed to inform the president to alert the public.