The White House was placed on lockdown as Secret Service agents responded to reports of a man shooting himself close to the perimiter fence of the building.
With President Donald Trump at his estate in Florida, the Secret Service said it was “responding to reports of a person who allegedly suffered a self-inflicted gun shot wound” along the north fence line of the building.
The Secret Service added on Twitter: “No other reported injuries related to the incident at @WhiteHouse.”
It said that agents and medical personnel were attending to the man. It did not immediately provide any information about the circumstances of the shooting.
The incident happened while Mr Trump was at Mar-a-Lago where he was seen in golfing gear. He was due to return to Washington on Saturday evening where he was scheduled to the attend the annual black-tie Gridiron media dinner. The First Lady and the couple’s son, Bannon, were also not in the White House.
The person involved in the incident was not immediately identified and there was no information about his condition. White House-based journalists were put on lockdown in the press briefing room following the reports.
NBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennett, wrote: “We’re sheltering in place at the White House briefing room. A report of “shots fired“ near North Lawn, per a US Secret Service agent. Trying to learn more.”
The White House press secretary said “we are aware of the situation, the president has been briefed”.
Mr Trump was due to fly back to Washington on Saturday where he will attend the Gridiron dinner, the sort of event he was largely avoided since taking office.
The dinner is an occasion where the media and presidents have traditionally gently ribbed each other. Mr Trump last year boycotted the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and the Gridiron event carries the potential to become awkward if the President decides to attack the media or accuse reporters of peddling “fake news”.
“I think he is in a potentially strange spot where he either attacks the press in a way that works really well at a rally but just gets crickets in that room, or he has spent the past two years calling reporters “fake news” and then suddenly admits it’s just the act,” David Litt, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama who helped write many of Mr Obama’s comedy speeches, told the Associated Press.