'Pikachu' White House fence-jumper claims D.C. stunt was activism

SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - A Somerset man arrested last week for jumping a security barrier at the White House says he did not do it to become famous, but to highlight an issue.

Curtis Combs was dressed like the Pokemon character Pikachu when he was arrested on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Combs told WKYT's Garrett Wymer that he approached the barrier and jumped over it while stating that he was not armed. He said Secret Service agents quickly swarmed him, and he immediately surrendered.

"I wanted to turn around more than a couple times," Combs said, "but again, at a certain point, I just decided I'm committed to this enough that I'm going to go through with it."

According to court documents, Combs told Secret Service agents that he wanted to be famous and hoped to accomplish that by jumping the White House fence in a Pikachu outfit and posting it to YouTube.

Combs told WKYT on Monday, though, that "YouTube" was just a simple answer he gave Secret Service agents as they went through a checklist to uncover his motive and identify whether or not he was a threat.

Combs, a former factory worker, claims the reason he did it is to bring attention to the rights of blue collar workers who he says are being taken advantage of, saying at-will employment and right-to-work laws are harmful.

"I mean if you really want to make a statement, if you want to get something across, there's the shock and awe value of a grown man donning a Pikachu suit and hopping over the White House fence," Combs said. "I wish I had been able to find a better platform. I considered a couple different options. But again, in 2017, the age of sensationalism, nothing gets anybody's attention like shock and awe. Maybe even if it is Pikachu."

Agents said in the arrest citation that Combs recorded his pre-jump attempt but could not finish the recording because of the quick response by officers. Agents said Combs also stated he knew he was going to get arrested and that he had researched previous jumpers at the White House before his attempt.

"If you believe in something strongly enough," Combs said, "an individual may decide the consequences or risks may be worth it."

Combs is charged with one count of unlawful entry. He says he is due back in court November 9.

He set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his legal expenses and a possible fine. He says he hopes to get punished with probation, community service and/or a fine instead of the possible max of six months in prison.

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