Capitol Alert

Homeless man arrested for entering Gov. Jerry Brown's residence

A 51-year-old homeless man stands accused of trespassing after an incident last week in which he entered Gov. Jerry Brown's residence, the historic governor's mansion on H Street.

The California Highway Patrol confirmed that Steven Seeley was arrested for trespassing "on the executive residence property, breaking a side window on the first floor of the residence." Brown's protective detail was "on site throughout the incident" on April 19, according to Fran Clader, a CHP spokeswoman. She said Seeley was "behaving erratically."

Clader declined to answer questions about how Seeley entered and exited the home or where and when he was arrested. Brown's press office declined to comment.

Seeley, in an interview from the Sacramento County Jail on Thursday, said he entered the residence without interference.

He said he saw wild animals, possibly lions or cougars, on the streets of midtown Sacramento and walked in through the front door of the home to alert Brown's security detail because he knew they had "big guns." He said he wanted to prevent the governor from being attacked.

Seeley said has never been diagnosed with a mental disorder, but said he occasionally experiences delusions and could be confused about the sequence of events. Seeley described himself as an almost daily methamphetamine user for most of his adult life and said he sleeps inside the long-closed Clarion Hotel, across from the governor's mansion on 15th and H Streets.

"I was looking for the security staff, but I didn't see anybody," Seeley said Thursday. "I thought the governor was in trouble, I thought he was in danger of being attacked by the wild animals, so I walked in. I yelled 'Jerry.'"

After walking in, Seeley said he looked around and didn't see anyone, but he heard muffled roaring and hid in a small room or closet. The room had a window, so he jumped out, into a fenced-in yard, breaking the window in the process, he said.

He then jumped the fence, badly tearing his forearm open on a nail, he said.

Wounded, with blood spilling from his arm, he said he walked into the street and sought help. He said he asked multiple passers-by for help calling 911 when after a few minutes, a couple pulled over and drove him to the hospital. He said he underwent surgery and was arrested at the hospital. Records show he was booked two days later, April 21, on multiple charges, including unauthorized entry and violating probation.

He was arrested by California Highway Patrol officers attached to Brown's protective detail.

Clader of the CHP said Brown was not present at the time of the break-in, but First Lady Anne Gust Brown was.

"The first lady was on an upper floor of the residence when the incident occurred and had no contact with the subject," Clader said in a statement. "No force was used or required by officers during this incident, and the subject was unarmed."

Clader said the property is monitored and there is "a robust onsite security presence at the residence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

"The safety of the first family continues to be our top priority and enhanced security measures remain in place," she said.

Brown's father, Pat Brown, was the last governor to spend significant time in the mansion before leaving office in early 1967. Ronald Reagan lived there for a short time before moving to east Sacramento, but subsequent governors – Jerry Brown during his first gubernatorial stint, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger – found other living accommodations as the historic mansion at 16th and H streets fell into disrepair.

After $4.1 million in safety upgrades and other renovations, Jerry Brown, Anne Gust Brown and the couple's Pembroke Weslh Corgis moved in to the mansion in time for the holidays in 2015. Brown is proud of the building's revival, and has hosted trick-or-treat and holiday celebrations there. The Governor's Mansion Foundation envisions an education center behind the mansion to house artifacts from previous governors.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Seeley was charged with violating probation, not parole.

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