Secret Service whisks Donald Trump out of White House briefing room after shots ring out nearby
A U.S. Secret Service officer pulled President Donald Trump out of a press briefing on Monday.
The officer stepped onto the speaking platform a few minutes after Trump began speaking, telling the president he should “step outside.”
The White House then went on “lockdown,” meaning no one was permitted to enter or exit the building. Reporters were locked in the briefing room.
Trump returned a few minutes later, saying Secret Service had taken him to the Oval Office following a shooting nearby.
“It was the suspect who was shot. This just took place,” he said, adding that an individual had been taken to a hospital.
“I can’t tell you the condition of the suspect,” he said. “There was nobody else injured. There was no other law enforcement injured.”
Trump said he did not know whether the wounded suspect was ever a threat to him, and credited a newly installed perimeter fence, higher than a previous one, for preventing intrusions.
Secret Service confirmed on Twitter about 40 minutes after the shots were heard that there was “an officer involved shooting” at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, which is adjacent to the White House campus.
A 51-year-old male approached a Secret Service Uniformed Division officer at his post and told the officer he had a weapon, according to a Secret Service statement late Monday.
“The suspect then turned around, ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew an object from his clothing,” the statement said. “He then crouched into a shooter’s stance as if about to fire a weapon. The Secret Service officer discharged his weapon, striking the individual in the torso.”
Officers immediately gave first aid to the suspect and D.C. Fire and EMS were called, the statement said.
“Both the suspect and the officer were transported to local hospitals,” the statement said.
It’s unclear if the officer was injured.
“The White House Complex was not breached during the incident and no Secret Service protectees were ever in danger,” the statement said.
The Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility is conducting an internal review of the officer’s actions and the Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the incident.
Trump praised the agents for doing a “fantastic job” and resumed briefing reporters for an additional 50 minutes.
“Are you rattled by this at all, Mr. President?” one asked.
“I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?” Trump said. “It’s unfortunate that this is a world— but the world’s always been a dangerous place. It’s not something that’s unique.”
(Edited by David Martosko.)