WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted from the White House briefing room on Monday (Aug 10) shortly after a shooting outside the fence surrounding the complex.
Trump returned to the briefing room after several minutes and said a person was shot by law enforcement and has been taken to the hospital.
"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."
The Republican president told reporters he was taken to the Oval Office outside the briefing room after he was escorted out.
The Secret Service tweeted it "can confirm there has been an officer involved shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.
"Trump said he knew nothing about the identity or motives of the person shot, but when asked if the person had been armed, he answered: "From what I understand, the answer is yes."
"It might not have had anything to do with me," Trump added, saying the incident took place "on the outside" of the White House perimeter.
"I don't believe anything was breached, they were relatively far away," he added.
Minutes into a news briefing, Trump was taken out of the room with no explanation for the disruption. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought were also taken out of the room and the doors were locked.
Philipos Melaku, a protester who has been camping in front of the White House for years, said he had heard a shot fired at around 5.50pm (2150 GMT).
"I heard a gunshot and before that I heard screaming," he told AFP.
"It was a male voice," he said. "After that immediately, pointing their AR-15s, at least eight or nine men came in running."
Following the security scare, Trump returned almost immediately to the White House podium where he resumed his scheduled press conference.
Asked if he was rattled by the incident, he replied: "The world's always been a dangerous place. It's not something that's unique."
Trump went onto praise the Secret Service as "fantastic people, the best of the best".
"I feel very safe with Secret Service," he said. "A lot of terrific looking people ready to go if something was necessary."