Washington: A 21-year-old youth accused of firing shots at the White House last year has been formally charged by a federal grand jury with attempting to assassinate US President Barack Obama.

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez was involved in a shooting incident on November 11, shots of which even hit one of the outer windows of the White House.

The federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a 17-count indictment against Ortega-Hernandez, who has been in custody since his arrest on November 16.

In addition to the attempted assassination charge, Ortega-Hernandez has been charged with assaulting federal officers with a deadly weapon, injuring property of the US, and related firearms charges.

The grand jury returned criminal charges against Ortega- Hernandez for violating District of Columbia law as well.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the charges carry a possible prison term of life imprisonment.

According to the government's evidence, on November 11, 2011, at about 9 p.m., Ortega-Hernandez drove his Honda Accord westbound in the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue NW.

"He stopped the vehicle just past the entrance to the Ellipse, and fired several rounds at the White House," the Department of Justice said.

"No one was injured. FBI investigators examined the building and located several confirmed bullet impact points on the south side of the building on or above the second story residence area. Several bullets and fragments also were collected in the area near the impact points," it said.

(Agencies)