Opera singer danced on an SUV, then crashed through Mar-a-Lago barricades. Cops opened fire

Miami Herald

A Connecticut woman chastised for dancing on her car at a Palm Beach hotel late Friday morning ended up driving away and crashing her vehicle through two security barricades outside Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club and home, drawing gunfire from law enforcement officers, before leading a police helicopter on a chase that ended in her arrest. 

Hannah Roemhild, 30, a trained opera singer, is now in the custody of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is not a terrorist thing,” Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a Friday afternoon news conference. “This is somebody that obviously was impaired somehow.”

Roemhild could face charges for assault on both federal and county law enforcement officers, Bradshaw said. No one was injured, although the situation might have easily ended differently, officials indicated.

Trump was not at Mar-a-Lago at the time, but he was expected to arrive at the club Friday evening. The White House said the fracas would not disrupt the president’s travel plans.

PBSO, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service are investigating. George Piro, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office, said federal charges could be brought.

The incident began at 11:38 a.m. when Roemhild was spotted dancing on her black SUV at the Breakers resort and hotel, Bradshaw said. Security called an off-duty Florida Highway Patrol trooper, but Roemhild got in her vehicle. The officer tapped on her window. When it appeared Roemhild was preparing to reverse away, the officer broke the window. He then pursued Roemhild, who was said to be driving south erratically and at high speeds, but lost her in traffic.

Roemhild then approached Mar-a-Lago, about three miles south of the Breakers, driving the SUV through a staffed security barricade on a public road outside the club. Then she crashed through a second staffed checkpoint.

“The deputies and Secret Service agents that were there got out of the way just in time,” Bradshaw said.

As she continued toward the club’s main entrance, Secret Service agents and PBSO deputies opened fire, said Brian Swain, the Secret Service’s special agent in charge for Miami. Her vehicle was hit several times.

“A vehicle is a deadly weapon,” Bradshaw said, adding that it could have been loaded with a car bomb or been used to strike civilians.

Somehow, Roemhild managed to get away, driving her vehicle over the Southern Boulevard bridge and into West Palm Beach. Authorities lost her, although PBSO scrambled a helicopter into the air. During that time, Roemhild picked up another woman, believed to be a relative, Bradshaw said, before she was located and arrested.

PBSO originally said two people were in custody, but Bradshaw said the second woman is not being held. Roemhild was being transferred to the Palm Beach County Main Detention Center. She had not yet been interviewed as of midafternoon Friday.

According to what appears to be her Facebook, Roemhild is an opera singer who lives in Middletown, Connecticut.

The soprano, who said in her profile that she studied opera at Western Connecticut State University, posted on her Instagram that she arrived in Palm Beach on Jan. 28. She also works as a nanny, according to her LinkedIn. It does not appear that she has a law enforcement record.

Private contractors normally handle security at the club, but the Secret Service takes over before presidential visits and tightens procedures, including sweeping the property for bombs and setting up exterior checkpoints to screen visitors. Local law enforcement agencies assist the Secret Service and provide personnel for security.

There was a heavy police response outside the resort Friday afternoon and roads in the area were shut down.

“I don’t know what’s going on but there was a lot of gunfire out here,” one Instagram user said in a video that appeared to have been taken outside Mar-a-Lago. “[They’re] shutting it down.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the police shooting, PBSO said.

“The U.S. Secret Service is working with our local law enforcement partners in Palm Beach County, FL regarding police activity near the Mar-a-Lago club,” the Secret Service said in a statement. “As more information is developed, the appropriate law enforcement agencies will provide further details.”

The Palm Beach Police Department and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The phone at the club’s desk was not accepting calls early Friday afternoon.

Real estate developer Jeff Greene was working from his home next door to Mar-a-Lago Friday when he received a phone call from a neighbor. The woman, whom Greene declined to name, told him she had been driving back to Palm Beach when she saw police in pursuit of a vehicle. She told Greene that he and his wife should go inside and lock their doors because shots had been fired.

“I don’t understand why you have gunshots,” Greene told the Miami Herald. “The president is not even around.”

A guest inside the club told CNN around midday that it could be hours before patrons and staff were allowed to leave.

Mar-a-Lago is a historic mansion operated as a private club by the Trump Organization. The president has also declared it his primary residence.

Security breaches have become more common at the club since Trump became president.

Currently, a Chinese national named Yujing Zhang is in federal custody awaiting deportation after being convicted of trespassing at the club and lying to a federal agent. Zhang claimed she was there for a party. Another Chinese woman, Lu Jing, is awaiting a state trial on two misdemeanor counts after allegedly taking photographs on the property despite security telling her to leave

The latest incident happened as the president was dealing with an impeachment trial in the Senate.


4 thoughts on “Opera singer danced on an SUV, then crashed through Mar-a-Lago barricades. Cops opened fire

  1. That’s funny, because you don’t expect this kind of behavior form the opera crowd.

    “….This is somebody that obviously was impaired somehow….”

    Yeah, I’d guess that, too. A little too much tequila on her Florida vacation and she’s crashing the gates at Trump’s house. She may be the next Pavarotti after this event. The Metropolitan Opera is probably trying to sign her up right now.

    1. Oh, you’re killing me, joe!
      This story is one of the funniest mental pics I’ve had in a while. You’ve put a cherry on top!!

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