White House lockdown lifted after shooting nearby

The White House. FILE/ AP

WASHINGTON (AP) – A lock down at the White House has been lifted after a nearby shooting.

U.S. Park Police said on Twitter that the shooting happened on West Executive Drive on Friday afternoon.

Officials lifted the lockdown after everyone inside was safe and accounted for.

District of Columbia Fire and EMS spokesman Doug Buchanan says one patient was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition shortly after 3 p.m.

A D.C. police spokesman said the Secret Service was investigating.

The White House grounds were shut down to pedestrian traffic, locking staff members and reporters indoors.

The shooting outside the White House Friday happened within view of sightseers, as the surrounding sidewalks were crowded with families, school groups and government workers.

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

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

He says 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. Then, “as we were walking away we heard a shot fired, then some people started running away and agents had guns and were evacuating people.”

First Lady Michelle Obama was wrapping up a speech in downtown Washington at midday Friday. The shooting happened shortly before 3 p.m.

Her office would not say whether she, or the Obama daughters, were at the White House 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 says he was in the White House complex and was secured during the lockdown.

 

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