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Posted: March 20, 2017

Police say boy who crashed car near Trump's Mar-a-Lago was suicidal

Daily News Staff Writer
File photo of Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office directing traffic on Southern Boulevard near Mar-a-Lago. (Meghan McCarthy / Daily News)

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By Eleanor Roy, Palm Beach Daily News

PALM BEACH, Fla. —

A teenager who ran into a fence four blocks from Mar-a-Lago just before President Donald Trump arrived Friday evening was attempting suicide and previously called in terrorist threats to CNN, according to Palm Beach, Florida, police.

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The boy, whose name was redacted from a police report because of his age, was reported as a missing suicidal teen, armed and dangerous with a baseball bat and a metal pipe. According to the report, officers found the bat and pipe in the white Dodge Charger belonging to his mother after the teen crashed it into a construction fence shortly before 6:50 p.m. in Palm Beach.

Trump's motorcade arrived at Mar-a-Lago about 7:10 p.m. The report didn't mention Trump's arrival, or whether the Secret Service considered the teen to be a credible threat to the president.

The boy was apprehended by a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy after he backed into a fence on Via Palma, which is within the Secret Service-mandated restricted zone around Mar-a-Lago, the report said. He told officers he ran into the fence while turning around to try to drive into the Intracoastal Waterway and kill himself, according to the report.

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The report said the teen drove past two security checkpoints "at a high rate of speed" in the 800 block of South County Road, just north of its intersection with South Ocean Boulevard. That area is restricted to ID-carrying residents only.

The boy was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after, the report said, he and a few friends pretended to be refugees in January and prank-called CNN. Federal agents contacted the boy's mother to set up an interview, according to the report, and they later met with an agent. It wasn't clear when he was interviewed. The teen told police that the agent told him being "interviewed by the FBI in reference to terrorism" would be on his "permanent record."

>> Related: Mar-a-Lago dinner: House Oversight chair probes security

"(The boy) stated that he thought his 'life was over' and would never get accepted to a college or acquire a decent job," the report said. "(He) stated he then went home and attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself with a firearm."

When he couldn't find bullets, the report said, the boy took his mother's Charger, which he drove in excess of 110 mph on Northlake Boulevard and on Interstate 95 "in hopes to crash into another vehicle to kill himself."

Police said witnesses called 911 when they saw the Charger traveling at about 80 mph down South County Road in Palm Beach.

The report said he hit a traffic sign and ran at least two red lights in Midtown while heading south toward the restricted zone.

The investigation was turned over to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, according to the report. The sheriff's office on Saturday said the boy was given a traffic citation and was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation at the JFK North/West Palm Behavioral Health center in West Palm Beach.


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