On Friday, the Secret Service was forced to place the White House on lockdown for a little under an hour due to a reported shooting which occurred near the executive branch complex of the presidential home. The suspect is said to have been shot after he brandished a gun at a Secret Service checkpoint.
The Secret Service has not released much details regarding the shooting, however a tweet was sent out by the U.S. Park Police stating that the shooting occurred a little after 2 p.m. on West Executive Drive, near 17th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Authorities have also revealed that it was a uniformed Secret Service officer who shot and wounded the man outside of the White House this afternoon. The man was shot in the abdomen after refusing to drop the gun when ordered.
No person under the protection of the Secret Service was hurt during the incident and, in fact, President Obama was actually not at the compound at the time. Vice President Joe Biden was present on the White House grounds however, but he was reportedly in a secure location when the shooting was occurring. According to the White House Press pool, the president is said to be at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland playing golf with several aides. Tweets seemed the primary communication tool and it was also through this platform that the Secret Service advised that everyone was safe.
“The Secret Service is confirming a police involved shooting near the @WhiteHouse complex. All Secret Service protectees are safe.”
According to The Hill, the wounded man was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, based on information once more gained through a tweet, this time from DC Fire and EMS, an account belonging to the city’s EMS. The nearby roads were closed off by the police, including the full block-long stretch of 17th St, as a precaution and a helicopter could be seen circling overhead.
At the time of the shooting, there was a meeting at the nearby visitors section and all persons on the ground were forced to remain on the grounds during the lockdown. The head of an advocacy group with members who were waiting to enter the Executive Office Building, said that it was one of his companions who first alerted him to the fact that shots were fired. Trabian Shorters said that shortly after this, the officials made quick work of clearing the area.
“They started yelling for everyone to clear the canopy and get to the street. They were very emphatic. It was clearly very serious.”
The Atlantic reported that the lockdown was lifted from the White House at about 4 p.m.
Reports have stated that law enforcement officials have advised that investigators managed to locate the vehicle which belonged to the suspect really close by to the area where he was shot by the Secret Service. Further reports have revealed that a background check was done by the gun-toting man and he does not have any form of a record with the Secret Service.
The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel E. Bowser, also took to Twitter on Friday afternoon and has stated that the lockdown situation is under control.
“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.”
Once the lockdown was lifted, a number of persons, including members of the press, who had been present when the shots were fired and forced into the lockdown, took the time to express their relief on Twitter as well.
And we're free! The lockdown is over. ???? pic.twitter.com/5idbxjo1fL— Cheryl Bolen (@cherylbolen) May 20, 2016
It was only a few months ago, on Thanksgiving Day, that the Secret Service were forced to lockdown the White House after a man had jumped the fence while President Obama and his family were home.
[Photo Courtesy of Alex Brandon & Andrew Harnik/ AP Images]