WASHINGTON, DC — 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 nine 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, according to the U.S. Secret Service.
The suspect opened fired on a non-White House employee and a Uniformed Secret Service officer returned fire, a senior official told ABC News.
Law enforcement officials were still trying to determine the suspect’s motive.
The suspect was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, and the District of Columbia fire department said the man had a gunshot wound to the upper body.
Authorities were investigating whether the individual has a history of mental illness.
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?”
“It’s unfortunate that this is the world but the world has always been a dangerous place. It’s not something that’s unique,” he added.
Asked what the Secret Service agent told him when he was approached mid-sentence, Trump said, “Just told me when he came up, you pretty much saw it like I did. He said, ‘Sir, could you please come with me?’ So, you were surprised. I was surprised, also. I think it’s probably it’s pretty unusual but very, very professional people, they all do a fantastic job, as you know.”
Responding to a question from reporters, Trump said he does not think the suspect “breached anything.”
“It was on the outside grounds, so I don’t believe anything was breached. I asked that question. They were relatively far away,” Trump said.