Washington, Aug 11 :
US President Donald Trump was abruptly evacuated by a Secret Service agent from a live press briefing in the White House after shots were fired outside the highly-secured building.
Trump returned to the briefing room minutes later, confirming a shooting near the White House and assured the reporters that things were under control.
“White House seems to be very well under control. I would like to thank the Secret Service for doing their — always quick and very effective work…there was an actual shooting and somebody has been taken to the hospital,” Trump said as he resumed the press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic on Monday.
“I don’t know the condition of the person. It seems that the person was shot by the Secret Service. So we will see what happens,” Trump said.
The Secret Service also tweeted confirming an officer-involved shooting at 17th Street Northwest and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.
The Secret Service said a “male subject” and one of its officers were transported to a hospital.
An investigation of the shooting “is ongoing” and “at no time during this incident was the White House complex breached or were any protectees in danger”, it said.
The incident happened soon after Trump started speaking inside the James Brady press briefing room of the White House.
As he was making his opening statement and talking about NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) and economy, a top secret service agent reached out to him and requested him to leave the briefing room.
The secret service agent was seen saying something into his ears, after which the president, calm and composed, walked out of the briefing room.
Trump later told reporters that he was taken to the Oval Office.
“We were taken just out over to the Oval Office,” he said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was also in the briefing room.
Trump told reporters that the incident happened outside the White House complex.
“It was outside of the White House in this area right over here and they will have details for you in a little while. Somebody is taken to the hospital. It seems that the shooting was done by the law enforcement at that person, at the suspect, he said.
It was the suspect who was shot and this just took place. A couple of people outside I noticed a man named John Roberts who you know very well he reported that he heard shots. He was outside and he heard two shots, he added.
Detailing the incident, the Secret Service in a press release said that at approximately 5:53 pm, a 51- year-old male approached one of its officers who was standing at his post on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. 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,” it said.
Trump praised the Secret Service for their professionalism.
Responding to a question, Trump said that he was not rattled.
“It’s unfortunate that this is a world but the world has always been a dangerous place; it’s not something that is unique. The world has been–you look back over the centuries the world has been a dangerous place, a very dangerous place and it will continue I guess for a period of time, he said.
Trump said he feels very safe with the Secret Service.
“I didn’t even think about not coming back (for the news conference). I said am I able to go back and they said you have to wait a little while. I waited a little while as you know in the Oval Office area and I said, can I get back now and they said yes, and they have a lot of fortifications outside just in case, but it was one person, he said.