WASHINGTON – A man shot and wounded by a uniformed Secret Service officer, prompting President Donald Trump to be abruptly escorted out of a briefing room during a televised news conference, had been threatening to kill people near the White House, two officials familiar with the matter said Tuesday. But he was apparently unarmed.
The man, Myron Basil Berryman, 51, of Forestville, Maryland, was arrested on a charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. He remained hospitalized with critical injuries on Tuesday, according to authorities.
The officials, who were briefed on the investigation, could not discuss the ongoing probe publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Berryman had approached the uniformed officer just before 6 p.m. Monday at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from the White House, and told the officer he had a weapon, Secret Service Uniformed Division Chief Tom Sullivan said. He then moved aggressively toward the officer and appeared ready to fire before the officer shot him once, Sullivan said.
A police report obtained by the AP says Berryman “stated to Officer that he had gun.”
Sullivan would not answer questions Monday night about whether the man had indeed been armed, but no weapon was recovered at the scene, the officials said.
Before the shooting, Berryman had been shouting that he was going to kill people, according to the officials familiar with the matter.
Sullivan said after the man told the officer he had a weapon, he turned around and “ran aggressively toward the officer, and in a drawing motion, removed an object from his clothing,” Sullivan said. The suspect then “crouched into a shooter’s stance, as if about to fire a weapon” before the officer shot the man once in the torso, he said.
The White House complex was not breached and no one under Secret Service protection was in danger, Sullivan said. Law enforcement officials were still trying to determine a motive and authorities were investigating whether the man had a history of mental illness.
Trump had just begun a coronavirus briefing when a U.S. Secret Service agent escorted him from the briefing room. The president returned minutes later, saying there had been a “shooting” outside the White House that was “under control.”
“There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital,” Trump said. The president said law enforcement had fired the shots and that he believed the individual who was shot was armed. “It was the suspect who was shot,” he said.
Trump said the agent had escorted him to the Oval Office. The White House was placed on lockdown following the incident.
Both the suspect and the officer were taken to the hospital. Sullivan released no information about the officer and would not answer any questions at a late-night news conference near the scene.
An internal review of the shooting by the Secret Service was underway, and the Metropolitan Police Department was also investigating, a standard protocol.
At the White House, Trump praised Secret Service personnel for their work in keeping him safe. Asked if he was shaken by the incident, Trump asked reporters: “I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?”
Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
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