Man shot outside White House, Trump evacuated during press conference

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US President Donald Trump is being removed by a member of the secret service from the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 10, 2020. AFP

US Secret Service agents shot and wounded a man who was armed outside the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump, after being briefly whisked away in the middle of a press conference.

A 51-year-old male approached a Secret Service officer standing at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House, Secret Service Uniformed Division chief Tom Sullivan said.

The suspect told the officer he had a weapon and ran “aggressively” towards him, drawing an object out of his clothes, Sullivan said in a statement that was broadcast on Twitter.

He then assumed a “shooter’s stance” as if he intended to fire, whereupon the Secret Service officer shot him in the torso, Sullivan added.

Officers on the scene administered first aid, and emergency medical services were called. Both the suspect and the officer were taken to the hospital.

“The Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility will be conducting an internal review of the officer’s actions,” Sullivan said, adding that the DC Metropolitan Police Department had been contacted.

As the president was speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room, a Secret Service bodyguard abruptly approached him and interrupted, saying in a quiet voice: “Sir, could you please come with me?”

Trump and staff members left. Doors to the briefing room, still filled with journalists, were locked.

Outside, black-clad Secret Service agents with automatic rifles could be seen rushing across the lawn and took up positions behind trees. According to Fox News, whose camera team was outside, two shots were heard.

Minutes later, Trump reappeared at the press conference and announced that someone had been shot by the Secret Service outside the White House grounds.

He said: “Law enforcement shot someone, it seems to be the suspect. And the suspect is on the way to the hospital.”