August 12, 2005

California man with guns arrested outside UN

By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A California man was ordered on
Friday to undergo a psychiatric examination after trying to
enter a parking garage near U.N. headquarters with two firearms
and a five-gallon can of gasoline in his car.

"Who is the owner of the United Nations building? I want an
attorney from the United Nations," Vernon Wilker of Salton
City, California, shouted out at his arraignment, demanding
that his court-appointed attorney be replaced.

At that point, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Donna Recant
ordered Wilker sent to New York's Bellevue Hospital for a
30-day evaluation. His next court date was set for September

Wilker, 59, was charged with three counts of firearms
violations and could face up to seven years in prison if found
to be mentally competent.

He was arrested on Thursday after attempting to drive his
station wagon into a garage under a hotel located across the
street from U.N. headquarters on Manhattan's East Side.

Told by a private guard at the garage entrance that his
vehicle had to be searched, he asked if a permit was required
to carry a .22-caliber revolver, then backed up and left the
garage without being searched, U.N. chief spokesman Stephane
Dujarric said.

Wilker returned 10 minutes later and tried to run over the
guard to force his way into the garage, Dujarric said. At that
point, a U.S. Secret Service agent standing nearby apprehended
the man and turned him over to New York police. Secret Service
agents help provide security at the United Nations.

Wilker later told law enforcement authorities he had a
property dispute in California and was coming to the United
Nations to file a lawsuit, Dujarric said.

The world body launched a $21 million security upgrade in
May 2004 after several bombing attacks on U.N. offices overseas
and a few incidents at its New York headquarters, including a
shooting involving a disgruntled postal worker.