Hunter Biden, the son of former US vice-president Joe Biden, admitted to being held at gunpoint while trying to buy crack cocaine , according to an article published on Monday in The New Yorker . Joe Biden, the current front runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has repeatedly faced family tragedy during his decades in public office. After approaching a homeless man in downtown Los Angeles in 2016, “Hunter said that the man took him to a nearby homeless encampment, where, in a narrow passageway between tents, someone put a gun to his head before realising that he was a buyer,” the article says. The magazine piece cites interviews with Hunter Biden – who said he “needed a way to forget” – and people who knew and interacted with him. “He returned to buy more crack a few times that week,” the article continues in a section detailing a period of drug use and tumult in Biden’s life. Hunter Biden was only occasionally in the public eye during his father’s time as vice-president under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. Joe Biden, 76, leads in polling among the two-dozen candidates running for the Democratic nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Soon after first winning election to the Senate in 1972, Biden lost his wife and baby daughter in a car crash that also left Hunter and his brother Beau Biden badly injured. Beau became a rising star in the Democratic Party but died of cancer in 2015, an event thought to have derailed Biden’s expected bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.