Person shot outside White House, Trump evacuated mid press conference
US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought, member of the coronavirus task force Scott Atlas, and US President Donald Trump leave after a briefing at the White House August 10, 2020, in Washington, DC. Secret Service guards shot a person, who was apparently armed, outside the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump said just after being briefly evacuated in the middle of a press conference. The president was abruptly ushered out of the press event and black-clad secret service agents with automatic rifles rushed across the lawn north of the White House. Minutes later, Trump reappeared at the press conference, where journalists had been locked in, and announced that someone had been shot outside the White House grounds. Trump said he knew nothing about the identity or motives of the person shot, but when asked if the person had been armed, answered: "From what I understand, the answer is yes."
AFP/Brendan Smialowski
Person shot outside White House, Trump evacuated mid press conference
Sebastian Smith (Agence France-Presse) - August 11, 2020 - 8:07am

WASHINGTON, United States — US Secret Service guards shot and wounded someone, apparently armed, outside the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump said just after being briefly evacuated in the middle of a press conference.

As the president was speaking to reporters in the White House's briefing room, a Secret Service bodyguard abruptly 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.

"Law enforcement shot someone, it seems to be the suspect. And the suspect is on the way to the hospital," he said.

The Secret Service, as is typical, gave only a terse confirmation that "there has been an officer involved shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave." That is one block from the White House.

Rattled?

Trump, a Republican who faces a tough and bitterly divisive election on November 3, said he knew nothing about the identity or motives of the person shot. "It might not have had anything to do with me," he said.

There was no immediate precise information on what sort of threat the person allegedly posed.

But when asked if the person had been armed, Trump answered: "From what I understand, the answer is yes."

Trump said the incident took place "on the outside" of the White House perimeter, which is currently being reinforced by a new iron fence twice the height of the previous version.

"I don't believe anything was breached, they were relatively far away," he added.

Returning to the podium after the disruption, Trump appeared calm. He resumed his virulent criticism of opposition Democrats and praise for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, which polls show two-thirds of Americans believe he has botched.

Questioned whether the security incident had rattled him, Trump answered: "I don’t know, do I seem rattled?"

"It’s unfortunate that this is the world, but the world's always been a dangerous place," he said.

'Screaming'

Philipos Melaku, one of a small group of veteran protesters who camp out near the White House, said he had heard a shot.

"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."

Trump went on to praise the US Secret Service, which is in charge of guarding the president, as "fantastic people, the best of the best."

"I feel very safe with Secret Service," he said. "A lot of terrific looking people ready to go if something was necessary."

DONALD TRUMP WHITE HOUSE
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