Trump evacuated from briefing after shooting near White House

The US Secret Service abruptly escorted President Donald Trump out of the White House press room in the middle of a briefing because of a shooting outside the White House.

Just minutes into the news conference on Monday, a Secret Service bodyguard approached Trump at the podium, saying in a quiet voice, “Sir, could you please come with me?”

Trump and staff members left, and the doors to the briefing room, still filled with journalists, were locked.

Outside, black-clad Secret Service agents with automatic rifles were seen rushing across the lawn and taking up positions behind trees. According to Fox News, whose camera team was outside, two shots were heard.

Trump returned to the media room minutes later and said a person had been shot by law enforcement and taken to hospital. He said he understood the suspect had been armed.

“It was a shooting outside of the White House,” Trump said.

“It seems to be very well under control … But there was an actual shooting, and somebody has been taken to the hospital. I don’t know the condition of the person.”

He added that he understood the suspect was armed. “It might not have had anything to do with me,” Mr Trump added.

Outside the White House the area had a heavy police presence. Passers-by said they had witnessed a man being shot and then tended to by several secret service members.

The area immediately around the White House has witnessed widespread protests in recent months following the death of African American man George Floyd in May.

The White House is one of the most heavily fortified buildings in the country, with armed secret service agents and snipers on duty in the complex at all times.

Philipos Melaku, one of a small group of veteran protesters who camp out near the White House, told the AFP news agency that he had heard screaming followed by a gunshot. 

“It was a male voice,” he said.

“After that immediately, pointing their AR-15s, at least eight or nine men came in running.”

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