A uniformed Secret Service officer shot and critically wounded a man who brandished a gun outside the White House Friday afternoon, according to several law enforcement officials.
Police officials said the man approached a security gate and was shot after he was told to drop the gun and refused, according to two law enforcement officials. The man was rushed to a nearby hospital. Two officials said he had been shot in the chest.
Two officials said federal agents with bomb sniffing dogs were searching the suspected gunman’s vehicle near 17th Street and Constitution Avenue. Authorities found ammunition for a .22 caliber weapon, two law enforcement officials said.
The shooting near a security gate on West Executive Drive, near 17th Street shortly after 2 p.m., prompted a massive police response near the executive mansion, where hundreds of tourists and bystanders were milling about.
The Secret Service placed the White House on lockdown and rushed to secure Vice President Joe Biden “within the complex,” according to a White House official who asked for anonymity to discuss security matters. President Barack Obama was golfing at Joint Base Andrews on Friday afternoon, according to the White House press pool.
Police closed off a block-long stretch of 17th Street, and a helicopter was circling overhead.
Jaspreet Singh said a friend, Ranjit Singh, texted him that: “A cop shot a guy.” Jaspreet Singh said his friend told him by text that he had been 10 yards from the guard shack when he heard police yell at man with a gun in his right hand. He texted that the man kept walking toward security before he was shot.
Jason Wilson, visiting from Detroit to collect a President’s Volunteer Service Award, said he heard one shot while he and colleagues were standing near 17th Street and F Street.
“We were hoping it was a blown tire, but it wasn’t,” he said. “Within a few seconds, police were rushing down the street, telling us to move away.”
Trabian Shorters, the head of an advocacy group whose members were waiting in line to enter the Executive Office Building, said one of his companions heard shots, and officials quickly cleared the area.
“They started yelling for everyone to clear the canopy and get to the street,” Shorters said. “They were very emphatic. It was clearly very serious.”
Akil Patterson was near the front of the security line for his advocacy group’s briefing in the Executive Office Building when heard a clear pop. He saw an officer come through a side door and overheard radio chatter: “shots, shots fired, suspect down, suspect down.”
Patterson and others waiting to get in were rushed to the street.
“That’s where it was kind of mass confusion,” said Patterson. “There were so many cop cars just flying down trying to shut down traffic.”
Martin Silva and Joe Vogle, students at George Washington University, said four black SUVs sped from the White House grounds about 3:50 p.m., heading East on Pennsylvania Avenue.
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser tweeted Friday afternoon: “We are aware of the White House lockdown situation. I’ve been briefed by my public safety team [and] they are coordinating w federal partners.”
(c) 2016 The Washington Post