Trump ushered from briefing after shots fired near White House
Secret Service agents abruptly halted President Trump’s coronavirus briefing on Monday evening after an armed suspect was shot outside the White House.
The president was just minutes into his briefing shortly before 6 p.m. when a Secret Service agent whispered in Trump’s ear and asked him to leave the podium along with other administration officials who were in the room.
Reporters in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room were briefly placed into lockdown and Secret Service surrounded the West Wing.
Outside the White House, the situation was calm, but a portion of the surrounding streets had been blocked off, with a number of police and other official vehicles converging towards the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Philipos Melaku, a protester who has been camping in front of the White House for years, said he had heard a shot fired at around 5:50 pm (2150 GMT).
Trump returned almost immediately to continue his press conference as scheduled.
The president returned to the stage just minutes later to confirm someone had been taken to hospital following a shooting outside of the large White House wall.
“I heard a gunshot and before that I heard screaming,” he told AFP.
“It was a male voice,” he said. “After that immediately, pointing their AR-15s, at least eight or nine men came in running.”
“It seems that the person was shot by the Secret Service so we’ll see what happens,” Trump said, calling the episode “unfortunate.”
“It was outside of the White House,” he said. “It seems that the shooting was done by law enforcement at the suspect, it was the suspect who was shot,” he continued.
The president said he was not taken into the secure underground bunker but to an area near the Oval Office. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was also in the room.
“It was pretty unusual but they do a fantastic job, as you know,” he said, telling reporters he did not fear for his safety after the dramatic episode.
“They just wanted me to step aside for a little while just to make sure that everything was clear outside,” he added.
Appearing unfazed by the incident, the president resumed his briefing and spoke of decreasing US fatalities from the virus and market numbers.
When asked if he was rattled by the shooting, the president said: “I don’t know, do I seem rattled?”
“It might not have had anything to do with me,” Trump added, saying the incident took place “on the outside” of the White House perimeter.
“I don’t believe anything was breached, they were relatively far away,” he added.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in