Secret Service shoot armed man outside the White House and leave him in critical condition
An armed man has been shot outside the White House after brandishing a gun at a Secret Service checkpoint.
The suspect - who has not been identified but was described by witnesses as a man in his 20s - was shot once in the stomach by Secret Service officers one block west of the White House, leaving him in a critical condition.
The building was put on lockdown and Vice President Joe Biden was rushed to a secure area as the gunman was taken to hospital. President Obama was not home at the time of the shooting and was out playing golf.
Ammunition for a .22 caliber weapon was found in a car nearby, which is believed to be the suspect's, the Washington Post reported.
The lockdown ended at around 4pm.
The shooting took place on 17th and E Streets - one block west of the White House - at around 3pm.
A Secret Service spokesman told Daily Mail Online that officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop the weapon, but were left with no choice but to shoot him after he failed to stop.
Agents recovered his gun and gave him medical attention while they were waiting for an ambulance.
The suspect is in custody in hospital and is in a critical condition.
It is not clear why he had a gun outside the White House or what his intentions were.
Brett Polivka, a 26-year-old visiting Washington, DC, from Texas, said he saw a man in his mid-20s holding a silver-colored gun which was pointed at the ground.
'A couple officers drew their guns, went right at him andwithin two or three seconds we heard a gunshot,' Polivka said,adding that he believed it was an officer's shot.
Visitors wrote on Twitter that they saw 'lots of people with guns' after shots were heard.
President Obama left the White House shortly after 1pm for a round of golf at Andrews Air Force Base with three of his aides. He arrived there at about 1.30pm, meaning he was likely on the course when shots were fired about 90 minutes later.
Vice President Joe Biden was taken to a secure area of the White House.
Secret Service officers were seen clearing the area and snipers were seen on the roof of the building minutes after the shooting.
President Obama was 'made aware' of the shooting, although it is not clear where he is now, or if he is still on the golf course.
'No one within or associated with the White House was injured, and everyone in the White House is safe and accounted for,' a White House official said. 'The president has been made aware of the situation.'
Several hundred members of the Knight Foundation's Black Male Engagement (BME) project were waiting in a line to get inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) when the single gunshot was fired.
They were there to receive the Presidential Volunteer Award, Eddie Connor of Detroit, Michigan, said.
Some participants were already inside the EEOB when the shooting occurred. Many were still waiting to have their IDs checked by Secret Service agents at the appointment gate.
Several BME members who spoke to Daily Mail Online said they did not hear the firearm go off. Others did not realize the loud noise was a gunshot until Secret Service agents moved them off of the White House grounds and onto the other side of the street in front of a row of private businesses.
'They had my ID card. I was standing there, getting ready to go through, and the officers jumped out of a car, and said, everybody's gotta go back that way,' Nana Malaya Rucker, a Washington, D.C. resident and mother of one of the award winners said.
Mr Connor said the scene was 'slight hysteria'.
'Because now you saw the men actually arming themselves….yelling, and they're saying, "Move, move immediately. Clear the scene".'
Baltimore, Maryland, yoga studio owner Changa Bell said he knew immediately that it was a gunshot. Bell said an officer had his ID in hand when the situation unfolded. He realized afterwards that the agent sent him off with the wrong ID when he was forced off the property. He had Rucker's. His was still at the gate.
Bell said the officer 'looked at his buddy like, "what was that?", and he was like "uhhh, it was a gunshot". Then he got it in the earpiece there was shooting, and then they were like "everybody go".
As Secret Service agents received word of the shooting, one witness was left a security checkpoint with a large guard dog.
'I didn't hear anything, so all of a sudden, he just said "sir, don't move, just stay back there", and he took off running,' Bishop Winslow of Baltimore said. 'And he left me with the dog!'
Winslow the attack dog did not follow his hander. He stayed in the room and 'never moved'.
'I couldn't believe it, he left me in there with the dog. I was scared