Washington: US President Donald Trump was temporarily escorted by a Secret Service agent from an ongoing coronavirus briefing after a shooting was reported outside the White House.
“There was an actual shooting, and somebody has been taken to the hospital. I don’t know the condition of the person,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trump as saying on Monday after he returned to the White House briefing room minutes later.
“It seems to be very well under control,” Trump said.
“It was the suspect that was shot.”
No one else was injured, according to the President, adding that he was taken to the Oval Office when he was evacuated.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought were also in attendance for the briefing and shuffled out behind Trump.
Taking to Twitter about the incident, the Secret Service said: “The Secret Service can confirm there has been an officer-involved shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.
“Law enforcement officials are on the scene. More information to follow.”
In a subsequent tweet, Secret Service said the suspect involved was a male and that an officer was also injured and taken to the hospital, The Hill news website reported.
“At no time during this incident was the White House complex breached or were any protectees in danger.”
A chaotic scene unfolded in the moments after Trump was pulled from the briefing.
Armed Secret Service officers were seen stationed on the North Lawn of the White House as reporters inside the building scrambled to learn the cause of the lockdown.
The incident was not the first time agents felt Trump’s safety was threatened, but it was by far the most visible, as the briefing was being broadcast live, said The Hill news report.
In May, Trump was taken to the secure bunker amid violent protests just outside the White House.
Access to the White House complex has been more restricted amid the coronavirus pandemic and in the aftermath of the protests against racial injustice.
Additional fencing has been in place near the White House and nearby Lafayette Square dating back to early June.