WASHINGTON — President Trump dramatically cut short a news conference in the White House press briefing room on Monday evening after what he later described as a “shooting” outside the building. Trump was initially taken by the Secret Service from the briefing room podium. He returned roughly 10 minutes later and provided an explanation to reporters.
“There are no details we just found out … it was outside of the White House,” Trump said. “Somebody was taken to the hospital. It seems that the shooting was done by law enforcement. It was the suspect who was shot.”
The president said he was taken to the Oval Office. He noted that Fox News’ John Roberts reported hearing two shots fired. A White House official who was in the building told Yahoo News they also heard shots, though the cause was “unclear.”
“Sounds like a shooting outside,” the official said in a text message.
Trump was interrupted as he seemed to be delivering prepared remarks calling mail-in voting a “disaster” and trumpeting recent stock market gains. He was about five minutes into the news conference when he was called away from the podium by staffers.
“Excuse me?” Trump said in an aside to an aide.
A man who appeared to be a Secret Service agent then whispered into the president’s ear and he was ushered from the room. When Trump returned, he provided some information about the incident.
“There was a shooting. It was law enforcement shot someone — seems to be the suspect and the suspect is now on the way to the hospital,” Trump said. “There was nobody else injured.”
The president said he believed the suspect was armed and had been shot by Secret Service agents outside the fence surrounding the White House complex. He said the Secret Service would be releasing further information. The White House and Secret Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The park across from the White House has been a hotbed of protest activity in recent weeks. Trump indicated he was not aware of whether the suspect had said anything indicating motive or whether it was a political incident.
“It might not have anything to do with me,” said Trump. “It might have been something else.”
The president also praised the Secret Service for its response.