Security forces have shot and wounded a man wielding a gun near the White House. While President Barack Obama was not home at the time, the Secret Service briefly locked down the premises as a precaution.
One witness described a man who looked to be in his mid-20s walking to the gate of the White House brandishing a silver-colored firearm. The Secret Service later said that all people under its protection were safe.
An emergency services spokesman for Washington DC said that the suspect had been transported to a hospital in critical condition.
The shooting occurred near the corner of 17th and E Streets, next to what is known as the South Lawn of the White House.
The incident followed a series of similar episodes that have called into question whether the executive residence is being adequately protected. In September 2014, a man with a knife was able to jump a fence surrounding the building and run into the White House itself. The breach led to the resignation of the Secret Service director.
Some six months later, two intoxicated Secret Service agents crashed into a White House barricade just centimeters away from colleagues who were investigating a suspicious parcel as a bomb threat.
es/jm (Reuters, dpa)