President Donald Trump was hastily escorted from a daily press briefing on Monday evening (10 August) after secret service agents shot and wounded a man outside the White House.
A secret service agent walked onto stage during the briefing, informed President Trump of the incident and then led him from the room.
The President, who is up for re-election in November, returned to the briefing shortly after the incident.
What happened at the White House?
The Secret Service said that, one block from the White House compound, a man ran towards the building, “aggressively” claiming to be armed.
A 51 year old man was shot in the torso by an agent after he assumed “a shooter’s stance” and told an officer that he was armed. It is not yet clear whether the man was actually armed. Both the officer and the suspect were taken to hospital.
Associated Press says that, according to a source, the suspect has suffered serious injuries.
The White House complex was not breached at any point.
Authorities are reportedly looking into whether the suspect has a mental illness.
What did Donald Trump say?
Donald Trump returned to his press briefing minutes after he was escorted away, assuring those present that the situation was under control.
He informed journalists, "Law enforcement shot someone, it seems to be the suspect."
Trump said it was unclear whether he himself was a target. Asked if he was “rattled” by the incident, Trump responded, “Do I seem rattled?”
The President went on to say, "It's unfortunate that this is the world, but the world's always been a dangerous place. It's not something that's unique."
Secret Service statement
Following the incident the Secret Service released a statement.
It reads, “At approximately 5.53pm today a 51-year-old male approached a US Secret Service uniformed division officer who was standing at his post on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW near the White House complex. The suspect approached the officer and told the officer 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.
“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 rendered first aid to the suspect and DC Fire and EMS were called to the scene. Both the suspect and the officer were transported to local hospitals.
“The White House complex was not breached during the incident and no Secret Service protectees were ever in danger. The Secret Service office of professional responsibility will be conducting an internal review of the officer’s actions. The Metropolitan police department was contacted to conduct an investigation.”