Shooting Outside White House Interrupts Press Briefing

Police vehicles at the site of today’s shooting. Photo from Patrick Semansky (AP).

By Terrance Turner

August 10, 2020

There’s been a shooting outside the White House.

The AP quoted two sources as saying that the shooting took place near 17th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue — just blocks from the White House. (Google Maps states that this area is a four-minute drive from the White House.) The shooting interrupted a press briefing that was just beginning; reporters were placed on lockdown, per Senior White House Correspondent Jonathan Datoc.

The D.C. fire department was dispatched outside the White House at 5:55 p.m. ET after the Secret Service called to report that they had shot a person in his upper body, D.C. fire spokesman Doug Buchanan said. The Washington Post cited Buchanan, adding that a Secret Service checkpoint is near the site of the shooting. The Secret Service later confirmed the events.

The President was in the middle of a news briefing when he was abruptly ushered out by officials. According to CNN, he was midsentence when security came in and asked him to leave. “We’re going to have to step outside,” the agent said.

“Excuse me?” Trump asked.

“Step outside,” the agent told him. (Trump complied.) The President had been “briefing for all of maybe two or three minutes”, Reuters reporter Jeff Mason told Anderson Cooper tonight. He added that the Secret Service locked the doors, keeping all of the press inside.

When he returned, Trump told reporters that law enforcement had shot a suspect. The incident appeared to have been an active shooter situation. ABC News has learned that the suspect opened fire on a civilian, and a Secret Service officer returned fire. The suspect was shot. That adult male suspect was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound, their source told ABC News.

UPDATE: The Secret Service confirmed at around 7 pm CST (8:07 ET) that both the suspect and a Secret Service agent were taken to a local hospital. The Secret Service stated that the White House complex was never breached. At no time was the president in danger, according to the USSS.

That sentiment was reflected in the president’s comments upon his return. “I feel very safe with the Secret Service. They’re fantastic people. They’re the best of the best,” Trump told reporters. “They’re highly trained.”

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