WHITE HOUSE – U.S. President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted from a White House media briefing Monday afternoon by a U.S. Secret Service agent because of a shooting near the building.
Returning to the briefing room lectern minutes later, Trump said, “There was an actual shooting, and somebody’s been taken to the hospital.”
Tom Sullivan, chief of the Secret Service Uniformed Division, identified the person shot as a 51-year-old man who approached a uniformed Secret Service officer and said 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,” Sullivan said. “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.”
Both the officer and the man the officer shot were taken to the hospital. Sullivan did not take any questions, and his statement did not specify whether the man actually had a weapon, fired it, or the nature of any injuries to the officer.
According to the District of Columbia’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, its units responded to a person who had been shot in the upper body. The shooting took place near 17th Street Northwest and Pennsylvania Avenue.
The shooting took place at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, the transition point between a public street with vehicular traffic and the more restricted access around the White House complex.
Two gunshots were heard by at least one reporter who was in the briefing room.
“I heard two shots in rapid succession just after you took the podium,” Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts told the president when Trump asked the journalist what he had heard.
The president said the situation “seems to be very well under control.”
“You were surprised, I was surprised also,” Trump told reporters when he returned to the briefing room, saying he had been taken to the Oval Office.
“I do want to thank the Secret Service. They are fantastic,” Trump said, adding that he was not certain the incident “had to do anything with me.”
Asked by a reporter if he was rattled by the extraordinary event, he responded. “I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?”
Trump told reporters he gave no thought to not resuming the briefing once the Secret Service told him it was safe to do so.