The man who was caught with a gun near Barack Obama’s South Side home told police officers he wanted to speak with the presidential hopeful about getting a job, prosecutors said in court today. Omhari Sengstacke, the 31-year-old grandson of late Chicago Defender publisher John Sengstacke, was ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bail during the hearing.
Omhari Sengstacke (inset) was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and criminal trespassing to state land after police found a handgun in a vehicle he parked near Barack Obama's South Side home.
The convicted felon twice approached officers conducting security detail near the senator’s Kenwood neighborhood home at 5 a.m. Tuesday, telling them he needed to speak with Obama about getting a job, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said. Sengstacke was asked to leave the premises. He went back to his BMW, and then approached the officers a third time, saying he needed to go to Obama’s campaign office, said Antonietti, adding that the block has concrete barriers.
When police searched his car, they found .40 caliber semi-automatic weapon, a bulletproof vest and ammunition, Antonietti said. Sengstacke was charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and criminal trespassing to state land, police said.
Obama was home at the time of Tuesday’s arrest, but flew to Florida later in the morning. Sengstacke has a 2004 theft conviction for stealing a cell phone and a 2006 forgery conviction for trying to buy clothing with a fake traveler’s check. He received probation for both offenses.
Sengstacke’s arrest comes a month after three men were nabbed on drug and gun charges during the Democratic convention in Denver. One of the men allegedly told a Secret Service agent that another one of them planned to kill Obama with a high-powered rifle during his acceptance speech.
See Prior Post, Tuesday, August 26, 2008, Police foil 'racist plot to assassinate Obama', gang had links to Aryan Nation a White Supremacist Group and Outlawed Biker Group "Sons of Silence"
The U.S. attorney in Colorado said the men were drug users who made racist threats but did not have a solid assassination plan or the ability to carry one out.
Sengstacke’s grandfather, John Sengstacke, was publisher of the Defender for decades until his death in 1997. The Defender, founded in 1905, once boasted a circulation of about 250,000 and was credited with starting the migration of blacks to the North. But the paper’s daily circulation slid to about 25,000 by the time of Sengstacke’s death. A company controlled by one of John Sengstacke’s nephews took over the paper in 2003