A uniformed Secret Service officer shot and critically wounded a man who brandished a gun outside the White House Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The U.S. Secret Service said in a statement that the man approached a security gate on E Street Northwest shortly after 3 p.m. carrying a gun.
In the statement, the agency said the man refused numerous orders to drop the weapon and was shot. Two law enforcement officials said he was shot once in the chest and rushed to a hospital in critical condition. Authorities said a firearm was recovered.
Two officials said federal agents with bomb sniffing dogs searched the suspected gunman’s vehicle — a white 4-door sedan — near 17th Street and Constitution Avenue. Authorities found ammunition for a .22 caliber weapon, two law enforcement officials said.
The shooting occurred at an outer perimeter checkpoint, which is accessible to the public, near 17th Street. It prompted a massive police response near the executive mansion, where hundreds of tourists and bystanders were milling about.
The Secret Service placed the White House on lockdown and rushed to secure Vice President Biden “within the complex,” according to a White House official who asked for anonymity to discuss security matters. President Obama was golfing at Joint Base Andrews on Friday afternoon, according to the White House press pool.
Law enforcement officials said that the man did not gain access to the White House complex. After the incident, police blocked streets between 16th and 17th, along with parts of the Mall near the Washington Monument. A helicopter circled overhead.
Jaspreet Singh said a friend, Ranjit Singh, texted him that: “A cop shot a guy.” Jaspreet Singh said his friend told him by text that he had been 10 yards from the guard shack when he heard police yell at man with a gun in his right hand. He texted that the man kept walking toward security before he was shot.
Akil Patterson was near the front of the security line to get in the Executive Office Building when he heard a pop. “I live in Baltimore, I heard gunshots before, but this was a muzzle sound.”
Patterson said he saw an officer come through a side door and overheard radio chatter: “Shots, shots fired, suspect down, suspect down.”
Patterson and others waiting to get in were rushed to the street. “That’s where it was kind of mass confusion,” he said. “There were so many cop cars just flying down trying to shut down traffic.”
Jason Wilson, visiting from Detroit to collect a President’s Volunteer Service Award, said he heard one shot while he and colleagues were standing near 17th Street and F Street.
“We were hoping it was a blown tire, but it wasn’t,” he said. “Within a few seconds, police were rushing down the street, telling us to move away.”
Trabian Shorters, the head of an advocacy group whose members were waiting in line to enter the Executive Office Building, was also among those quickly ushered away from the area.
“They started yelling for everyone to clear the canopy and get to the street,” Shorters said. “They were very emphatic. It was clearly very serious.”
Martin Silva and Joe Vogle, students at George Washington University, said four black SUVs sped from the White House grounds about 3:50 p.m., heading East on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Cheikh Basseme, of Brentwood, Md., had been waiting for more than two hours to retrieve his car on Constitution Avenue after visiting the National Mall to take in the sights on his bike. His Chrysler Sebring is parked two spots in front of a suspect vehicle authorities are searching. He said he worried that he’d miss his UMd online class, which starts at 7 p.m.
“My commute is jammed up now,” he said. “They told me it’ll be at least another hour.”
“I have to go back and do my online classes,” he said. “It’s very frustrating. We’re just waiting and waiting. It’s been two hours now.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser tweeted Friday afternoon: “We are aware of the White House lockdown situation. I’ve been briefed by my public safety team [and] they are coordinating w federal partners.”
Juliet Eilperin, Josh Hicks and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.