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White House locked down after man shot at security checkpoint

Published 20/05/2016

The White House was placed in lock-down after the Secret Service shot a man who refused to drop a firearm at a security checkpoint.

Secret Service spokesman David Iacovetti said the man was carrying the firearm when he approached the checkpoint just after 3pm local time on Friday.

The checkpoint is on the outside perimeter of the secure area around the White House in Washington and is accessible to the public.

Mr Iacovetti said in a statement: "Secret Service uniformed division officers gave numerous verbal commands for the subject to stop and drop the firearm."

He added that when he did not do so, a Secret Service agent shot him once. The uniformed officers and an agent gave the man first aid before he was taken to hospital.

A firearm was recovered at the scene.

The incident occurred within view of sightseers as the surrounding pavements were crowded with families, school groups and government workers at the time.

The White House was placed on a security alert for about an hour.

President Barack Obama was not there - he was playing golf - but vice president Joe Biden's office said he was in the building at the time and was secured during the lock-down.

First Lady Michelle Obama finished a speech in central Washington at midday, but her office would not say whether she, or the Obama daughters, were at the White House at the time.

Community activist Akil Patterson said he heard a single gunshot while he waited in a security queue to enter the White House. Within seconds, a security guard shouted for people to drop to the ground, and he was quickly evacuated to the street.

Mr Patterson was at the White House to get a presidential award for his work with Baltimore teenagers.

He said his community work aims to "get rid of the notion that gun violence is the answer".

Sightseer Jenna Noelle, of Austin, Texas, said she had just taken a photo in front of the White House when she noticed a man harassing an agent.

She added: "As we were walking away we heard a shot fired, then some people started running away and agents had guns and were evacuating people."

District of Columbia Fire and EMS spokesman Doug Buchanan said one patient was taken to a nearby hospital in a critical condition.

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From Belfast Telegraph