Middletown mayor at White House during lockdown

Middletown Mayor Charles Harbaugh got more than he bargained for during a White House tour on Wednesday after a man threw what were described as personal belongings over the White House fence, triggering a lockdown of the building and adjacent Lafayette Park.

Secret Service acted quickly and professionally in escorting President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to a secure location, said Harbaugh.

“I was in the West Wing of the White House when the lockdown happened and it was very professional. It was not like the movies at all,” he said. “These people were on their A game. They’re prepared for things like this. Secret Service came out of the woodwork … and secured the people that need to be secured.”

Harbaugh, who was at the White House for a VIP tour, said that the lockdown lasted about two hours.

The lockdown, which occurred around 11 a.m., was the second in as many days. On Tuesday, a man jumped the White House fence near the office area where presidential staff members work, according to the Associated Press. Both men, the news agency reported, were arrested.

Harbaugh said that he was in the office of the vice president when the lockdown was ordered and that specifics on the situation weren’t immediately available.

“We weren’t aware,” he said. “We were only aware from the Secret Service. I was in the vice president’s office when we found out what happened.”

Harbaugh said that nobody panicked and things returned to normal fairly quickly.

“They secured the president and vice president first, then they escorted all the non-essential personnel out of there,” he said. “They were able to delineate the problem and get everybody back in their routine.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com