It was an unlikely intruder who managed to breach the White House's security on Tuesday morning. But instead of an armed intruder, it was a tiny toddler who crawled through a gap in the White House fence and onto the North Lawn.
Secret Service Uniformed Division officers quickly responded, walking across the lawn and rescuing the infant intruder before returning the child safely to his parents. Access to the complex was briefly blocked during the brief intrusion.
"The Secret Service Uniformed Division today encountered a curious young visitor along the White House north fence line who briefly entered White House ground," Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications for the Secret Service, said in a statement Tuesday, via CNN. "The White House security systems instantly triggered Secret Service officers and the toddler and parents were quickly reunited."
The incident occurred at around 11 a.m. Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. The officers quickly responded to the scene and took care not to respond too aggressively in a way that might scare the child. The officers then briefly questioned the parents of the toddler, who were visiting from Canada, before letting them go.
The incident is the first such intrusion since the fence around the White House was rebuilt in 2019. The project nearly doubled the height of the previous fence from about 6 and 1/2 feet to 13 feet tall; it also made the pickets wider and stronger. The Secret Service and the National Park Service collaborated on the project. But the new fence included an extra inch of space between pickets, 5 and 1/2 inches total, which allowed the toddler to squeeze through.
The incident comes as the nation's capital grapples with a rise in crime in the district in recent years, including a surge in gun violence. As reported by Axios, there was a 40% spike in reported violent crimes involving a gun between 2017, when there were 1,573, and last year, when the number rose to 2,203.
The Secret Service, however, is well-prepared to respond to whatever threat may come their way. Tuesday's incident with the curious toddler is proof that the White House is in good hands.