On August 10, 2020, US President Donald Trump held a press briefing. In between the whole period of the event, the US Secret Service said the incident happened on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave – just outside the White House perimeter.
According to an agency statement, just shortly before 6 p.m., the suspect allegedly approached a Secret Service uniformed officer standing post near the White House ground, telling the officer that he had a weapon.
The agency said, “The suspect then turned around, ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew an object from his clothing.”
It is said that the 51-year-old man, who has not been identified “crouched into a shooter’s stance as if about to fire a weapon.” The agency also said that “The Secret Service officer discharged his weapon striking the individual in the torso.” According to NBC News, the agency has not disclosed whether the man actually had a gun, or if the officer was injured, however, two law enforcement sources have said to CNN News that the wounded person was unarmed.
Immediately, the man was given first aid, and Washington, D.C. police and fire units were called to the scene. Both the man and the officer were then taken to George Washington University Hospital.
This whole incident has caused interruption to Trump’s press conference almost as soon as it began after an aide approached the president and appeared to tell him that he has to step outside. It also caused the whole briefing room to be placed on lockdown immediately after the president made his way out, according to a pool report.
Lockdowns at the White House happen commonly for nearby shooters, breaches of the White House perimeter, and even bags abandoned nearby. But it is rare for lockdowns to occur when the president is on stage and extremely rare for the president to be removed by the Secret Service in the middle of remarks.
Nine minutes later, the president told reporters on Monday that a person had been shot outside the White House perimeter and taken to hospital, but he only gave few other details. Mr. Trump also said that he heard reports that two shots had been fired. When he returned, he also added that he did not have any information if the person actually had any ill intentions towards him.
Trump continued to make a statement on how he felt very safe with the Secret Service, he said, “they’re fantastic people, they’re the best, they’re highly trained.” And he also added that he was not at all shaken by the incident. When asked by a reporter if he was rattled by the whole incident, he only gave a response of “The world has been, you look back over the centuries, the world has been a dangerous place, a very dangerous place.”
Right after, the president resumed his briefing to reporters on the state of the economy after taking questions on the shooting.
Dan Bongino, a Republican commentator and former Secret Service agent has expressed something towards the incident. He tweeted “spent twelve years in the Secret Service and I’ve never seen that before.”
More on the incident, the Secret Service said that The White House complex was not breached at all “and no Secret Service protectees were ever in danger.” The Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility has now conducted an internal review of the officer’s conduct, as from their statement.
Importantly, the news agency also reported that authorities have now looked into whether the individual has a background of mental illness.