U.S. President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted by a U.S. Secret Service agent out of the White House briefing room as he was beginning a coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon. He returned minutes later, saying there was a “shooting” outside the White House that was “under control.”
“There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital,” Trump said. The president said the shots were fired by law enforcement, saying he believed the individual who was shot was armed. “It was the suspect who was shot,” Trump said.
Trump said he was escorted to the Oval Office by the agent. The White House was placed on lockdown following the incident.
The shooting took place near 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House. Law enforcement officials were still trying to determine the suspect’s motive.
In a statement Monday night, the Secret Service said the suspect, a 51-year-old man, had approached an officer while saying he had a weapon.
“The suspect then turned around, ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew an object from his clothing,” the statement read.
“He then crouched into a shooter’s stance as if to fire a weapon,” the agency added, at which point the officer shot the man in the torso.
The suspect was transferred to a local hospital, and the District of Columbia fire department said the man suffered serious or possibly critical injuries. Authorities were investigating whether the individual has a history of mental illness.
The Secret Service confirmed one of its officers was also transported to hospital, but did not say what injuries the officer suffered.
“At no time during this incident was the White House complex breached or were any protectees in danger,” the agency said.
The Secret Service said an internal review will be conducted into the officer’s actions during the incident.
Trump praised the work of Secret Service personnel for their work in keeping him safe. Asked if he was shaken by the incident, Trump asked reporters: “I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?”
-With files from Global News