A man with a gun in his hand approached a security checkpoint two blocks away from the White House on Friday and was shot by a Secret Service agent.
The man was shot in the chest and was taken to hospital in critical condition, NBC News reported.
The man was carrying a silver gun when he walked through the fence line of the checkpoint, according to an eye-witness interviewed by NBC News.
“They immediately tried to stop him,” the witness said of the security personnel.
The security guards yelled “stop” multiple times, and “drop your gun.”
“He kept ignoring them,” the witness said, and as the man continued to walk in, he said, “they shot him.”
The shooting occurred at about 3 p.m. and the White House was placed on lockdown.
The Secret Service is confirming a police involved shooting near the @WhiteHouse complex. All Secret Service protectees are safe.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) May 20, 2016
The location of the checkpoint is around the intersection of 17th Street NW and E Street NW, about two blocks from the White House, and about 500 feet from the White House fence.
The president was not at the White House at the time. He left earlier in the day for a round of golf at Andrews Air Force Base, about 10 miles away.
Openly carrying a firearm is banned in Washington, D.C., and one needs to prove a “good reason” to carry a concealed weapon—though this rule has been challenged in courts as unconstitutional.
The White House has been put on lockdown multiple times in recent months.
On April 26 a man jumped the fence of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, right next to the White House, putting it on a brief lockdown. The man was being pursued by a police officer after a suspected robbery when he jumped the fence.
The following day, the White House was again put into lockdown and another man was arrested after throwing “personal belongings” over the fence near the North Lawn of the White House.
On March 28, a shooting broke out in the Capitol Visitors Center. A man had drawn what appeared to be a weapon and was shot by an agent, CNN reported. Staff within the complex had been told by police to stay sheltered and the White House and Congress were placed on lock-down.
The U.S. Secret Service has proposed a taller and stronger fence around the White House that would be more difficult to jump.