WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump was abruptly removed from the briefing room on Monday during a press conference with reporters because of a shooting about a block away from the White House.
The president was in the middle of his opening statement when an aide who appeared to be a member of the Secret Service came to his side and escorted him off the podium. Trump returned to the room after a few moments and reported that there had been a shooting outside the White House.
"It was law enforcement shot someone, it seems to be the suspect. And the suspect is now on the way to the hospital," Trump said.
In a statement, the Secret Service said a 51-year old male approached one of the agency's uniformed officers posted near the White House complex, telling the officer that 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," the statement 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. "
No firearm was found on the suspect, said a law enforcement official who is not authorized to comment publicly.
Officers rendered aid and first responders were called to the scene. Both the officer and the suspect were taken to local hospitals, the agency said.
The White House complex was not breached during the incident, the statement said.
The Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility will launch an internal review of the officer’s actions and the D.C Metropolitan Police Department also has been asked to investigate.
"You were surprised, I was surprised also," Trump said.
Trump, who said he was taken to the Oval Office during the incident, said he wasn't aware of the reason for the shooting.
"It might not have had anything to do with me," Trump said. "It might have been something else."
Asked if he was rattled by the experience, Trump responded: "Do I seem rattled?"
Lock downs at the White House are relatively common and can happen for nearby shooters, breaches of the White House perimeter and even bags abandoned nearby. But it is rare for lockdowns to occur when the president is on stage and extremely rare for the president to be removed by Secret Service in the middle of remarks.
The last high-profile lock down took place in May because of protesters outside the White House, demonstrating over the death of George Floyd.
The Secret Service can confirm there has been an officer involved shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. Law enforcement officials are on the scene. More information to follow.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) August 10, 2020
Reporters inside the White House indicated the building was on lock down shortly after the shooting. Trump professed little worry about his own safety.
"The world has always been a dangerous place," Trump said. "That's not something that's unique."
The president returned to the briefing room minutes later and, after fielding several questions about the shooting, returned to his prepared remarks.
"So I was telling you that the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 are now 50% above the March level," he said.
"Spent twelve years in the Secret Service and I’ve never seen that before," tweeted Dan Bongino, a Republican commentator and former Secret Service agent.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, Kristine Phillips
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump quickly taken from briefing room after shooting near White House