A Contractor Who Worked At The White House Was Arrested (At Work) For Attempted Murder

by Jessicah Lahitou
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A man wanted on murder charges was arrested Tuesday when he reported to his job. National headlines followed because of the quite sensitive location where the man accused of attempted murder, Martese Maurice Edwards, worked — the White House.

Edwards was employed as a contractor with the National Security Council, work that put him in the Old Executive Office Building. According to the Daily Beast, that means Edwards worked in the same complex as the White House. He was arrested by the Secret Service when he showed up to check in at security.

The warrant for Edwards' arrest came from Prince George's County in Maryland, as reported by CBS News. According to a statement issued to CBS by the Secret Service, Edwards has been taken to the MPD (Maryland Police Department) to go through processing. As CBS News reported, it's not yet clear whether or not Edwards has a lawyer.

A report on CBS This Morning detailed that Edwards' attempted murder charge comes in relationship to a domestic dispute. The 21-year-old Edwards was "wanted in connection with a shooting." The incident reportedly involves a gunshot suffered by the current boyfriend of Edwards' ex-girlfriend.

That altercation was reported to police on May 17. And according to CBS News, the warrant was put in the national database on the following day, May 18.

There are some questions as to why Edwards was allowed to continue working at the White House until June 5, more than two weeks after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Bradley Moss, an attorney with experience in helping clients navigate background checks, told the Daily Beast that it's the duty of individuals employed by the government to report any outstanding or pending arrest warrants. And while Moss says that agencies do regularly check the national database, "That human element to the process is subject to flaws, just as we saw here.”

And as CBS reported, the database is not checked upon every single entrance onto White House grounds. That may explain how Edwards avoided arrest for several weeks following the issuance of the original warrant.

The exact specifics of Edwards' work for the White House remain unknown at this point, other than that he contracted with the National Security Council in some capacity. It's also unclear how often Edwards came through White House security checkpoints.

Edwards' is certainly not the first arrest ever made on or near White House grounds. In March of 2017 a man was able to get past White House security and onto resident grounds. As CNN reports, the 26-year-old man was discovered and arrested near an entrance to the executive residence, carrying a backpack containing mace and a letter for President Trump.

In a more gruesome story, a man alleged to have murdered the manager of a fitness center in Nashville was also arrested near the White House in April for parking his car near a security checkpoint and adamantly refusing to move it. That same man is now accused of killing his former boss, Joel Paavola, by attacking him with a hatchet on June 4. Paavola had fired the alleged murderer several months earlier. The suspect remains at large.

Another man from Nashville was arrested by the Secret Service prior to carrying out a mass shooting. The man accused of murdering four people at a Waffle House in April was apprehended in the summer of 2017 for trespassing on White House grounds. The arrest report says the officer who arrested the man quoted him as saying, "he was a sovereign citizen and has a right to inspect the grounds."

The case of Edwards differs in that he was employed by the government, and therefore free to enter the White House without sneaking in — and because of that, this is one story that probably isn't going anywhere.