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Previous story Trump escorted from briefing after shooting outside White House Next story
Published on August 10, 2020 10:31 PM

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US President Donald Trump left a coronavirus pandemic briefing at the White House in Washington, DC amid reports of a shooting outside the grounds [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

The US Secret Service has abruptly escorted President Donald Trump out of the White House press room in the middle of a briefing on 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 the 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 said the shooting was near the fence at the edge of the White House grounds.

Nobody else was wounded in the shooting, Trump said, praising the Secret Service's response.

In a tweet, the Secret Service said "the investigation into a USSS officer involved shooting is ongoing".

It added: "A male subject and a USSS officer were both transported to a local hospital. At no time during this incident was the White House complex breached or were any protectees in danger."

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

"I heard a gunshot and before that I heard screaming. It was a male voice," he said.

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

Trump told reporters he had been taken to the Oval Office, which is in the West Wing near the briefing room, after he was escorted out.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought were also taken out of the room.