By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Connecticut man charged with scaling the White House fence draped in the U.S. flag was ordered on Friday to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after officials say they found a suicide note and will.
The suspect, Joseph Caputo, 23, of Stamford, triggered a lockdown of the White House on Thanksgiving Day with President Barack Obama inside, according to his public schedule.
The incident marks at least the third time someone has jumped the White House fence this year. It follows steps by the Secret Service to improve security there.
Caputo was silent during the five-minute hearing before District of Columbia Superior Court Magistrate Judge Errol Arthur. After the psychiatric exam, Caputo is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate on Monday.
He was wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt, white pants and U.S.-flag tennis shoes, and was shackled and handcuffed. His lawyer, Paul Signet, declined to comment.
A criminal complaint said Caputo raced toward the White House until stopped by Secret Service officers.
Caputo told one of the officers, "I love my country" and "I knew I would be locked up," the document said. A search of Caputo turned up a USB flash drive in the form of a Captain America comic character's shield, a guide to the Constitution and weightlifting gloves.
Agents interviewed two acquaintances of Caputo in Virginia with whom he had stayed since Monday. He had left behind two letters, one of them a suicide note, the filing said.
One of the letters said: "Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around us who transform into the Force."
The second letter was intended to exonerate the acquaintances from anything Caputo might do, the document said. He also left a will with his mother in Connecticut and an audio message saying he might not be able to see her again.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)