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Gunman Outside White House Gate Shot, Captured by Secret ServiceAired February 7, 2001 - 11:37 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go now to Washington: Kelly Wallace is standing by there at the White House. We may have some breaking news there -- Kelly.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, there has been definitely some increased activity here at the White House, and we want to preface we're just not exactly sure what is going on.
We did see a number of police cars coming across Pennsylvania Avenue not too far from here. There is a helicopter circling the White House perimeter -- not sure if that's a National Park Police helicopter. We have seen some Secret Service officers looking to be in heightened alert, some standing holding their weapons.
Again, we don't have any information, do not know if there is some threat of some kind. We just can tell you that there is increased activity around here at the White House.
And that's latest from here -- Leon.
HARRIS: Do you get a sense that, Kelly -- that they're taking this extra seriously, is there any sense of panic there at all, or what?
WALLACE: Well, no sense of panic, Leon, but definitely a sense -- you know, we all work here every day, and so this does seem to be a rather unusual degree of increased activity going on. You do see the officers, the Secret Service officers, definitely looking to be on a heightened state of alert.
We have asked them can you tell us what's going on. They have told us not. We have seen a number of them basically around lawn of the White House kind of standing at alert.
Now again, some of that's not unusual. Of course, this is one of the most secure, if not the most secure, place in the entire United States. So definitely, a lot of activity, though.
Again, we mentioned a helicopter circling around. We've seen a number of police cars. So a heightened state of activity.
But again, right now, no information about just what is happening.
HARRIS: Can you give us an idea of what side of the White House you're talking about and how big of an area you see them canvassing right now?
WALLACE: Sure -- well, I'm here, right here on the north lawn of the White House, and just about 100 yards from me, you have the fence, and that is sort of Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Park. There has been some activity at that area.
But there's also been this helicopter that's sort of circling around the White House -- and of course, you know, we cover a wide array of, you know, territory here.
And then you, of course, have the south lawn in the back. We're not able to see if there's any heightened activity back there. That is where the president held an event a few hours ago this morning. He was with about 20 families from across the country to tout his tax cut bill.
We don't know exactly where the president is now. He's believed to be in the White House working, etcetera. So again, heightened active, Leon. But we can't preface it enough: We just don't know what's happening. We just know it seems to be a lot more activity than usual on a typical day here at the White House.
HARRIS: Yes, and, Kelly, as you are talking, we are watching a live picture of what looks like the roof of the White House or perhaps one of the other buildings. I am assuming that this is still the White House, is is not? If anyone can correct me on that, I would appreciate it.
But we are seeing what looks like either two Secret Service men or two -- some sort of some officers of some type, of some service there with tel -- with binoculars, rather. And they seem to be peering around the property. Do you see -- aside from that, really, it's kind of hard to tell what else there might be going on there that this particular time.
WALLACE: Right. Right. And I am looking at that same picture that you're showing there, Leon. And that I do believe it is -- yes, on top of the White House. Now, again, we should preface this. Obviously, there is security that goes on at all times. So there are people on top of the White House. There are SWAT team officers around the grounds of the White House always on alert.
Again, there is a definitely more a heightened state of alert going on right now. It's not clear if there is some threat of some kind that they are looking for.
HARRIS: now, kelly, I recall some time ago we had an incident like this at the White House. I believe it was when someone crashed -- went through the gate and had some guns on them at the time. I don't know if you remember that incident about a year or so ago. At that time, they were sort of clearing most of the press out of there and making you move to get out away from that area. Nobody is doing that at that this particular point or what? We're now seeing an officer running.
Kelly, can you see him behind you?
WALLACE: Yes, I sure do. I see that officer -- I'm trying to get a vantage point of where that officer is right now. It's kind of hard. We're watching live pictures as they're coming in. No, Leon, I mean, basically, you've got press all over the place right now. You've got the reporters, including photographers here on the North Lawn.
Many of my colleagues have gone out to Pennsylvania Avenue to check and see what is going on -- have gone around to the South Lawn. So, you know, the officers are letting us take these pictures. But again, no one is commenting and no one is talking. We have called a number of senior administration officials to find out what is happening. And we are just waiting to find out as well.
HARRIS: Well, Kelly, earlier this morning, we were watching an event there on the White House -- I guess the South Lawn this morning -- with President Bush along with some other families. Have they all been cleared out of that area by now? Are they inside on tours or what?
WALLACE: Well, you know, that is a good question, Leon. We do need to find that out because, after the event, the president was going to meet with the families, have a reception, get a picture taken, pretty much standard procedure. That event ended probably a little bit by about 10:00 a.m. And now it's, what, almost noon. I believe those families should be gone.
But I do not know that for a fact. We, also, a short time ago, did see some people leaving the White House. You know, of course, the White House gives the tours Tuesday through Saturday. So there are lots of visitors coming into the White House. It was not clear if people were being asked to leave. Again, I hate to preface this even more. We just don't know what's happening. So we're not sure if people were asked to leave or they were just done with their tour, so they were going on with their day.
DARYN KAGAN CNN ANCHOR: Kelly, what about the status and location of President Bush? Is it a typical maneuver: that if there is some kind of threat the White House that they remove the president from the grounds?
WALLACE: You know, Daryn, this is stuff that is so over my head, I guess you can say. I am just not sure of what would happen. Obviously, if there is a threat of some kind, number one would be to check on the safety of the president and to make sure he is being protected. So again, not sure if that is happening. We have no other information other than to think that the president is still inside the White House. He was basically to have some meetings throughout the day after that event with the tax-cut families.
HARRIS: All right, how about some other questions you may not have answers for, but we have to ask you anyway?
HARRIS: Do you know -- any idea right now where Vice President Cheney or where the first family may happen to be right now?
WALLACE: No, I don't. I know that Vice President Cheney was with the president this morning, as you all know. And our viewers did see them together at that event. Not sure, again, about the first family. I believe just first lady Laura Bush is here.
Jay McMichael (ph), one of my colleagues here, handing me a note basically advising that that helicopter seems to be hovering over the South Lawn and the Ellipse area. And it doesn't appear to be moving. Now, I am completely -- quite far away from that vantage point. That is completely behind the White House. So not sure if there is something there that Secret Service has noticed. And there may be a reason why that helicopter is hovering overhead at that point.
KAGAN: Well, Kelly, from all the time that you spend at the White House, maybe you can give us some perspective as we watch these live pictures. As you see these pictures of men on the roof, holding these high-powered binoculars, is that a normal, everyday occurrence? We are looking at another person who is holding a high-powered weapon, not drawn, but just holding it, ready to go if necessary. Is that typical positioning for the White House on a daily basis?
WALLACE: Well, some of it is typical. Certainly, there are always, you know, observers up on top of the White House looking out. You do have Secret Service officers and sharpshooters throughout the White House. And when have you any -- when the president is moving or if have you any official coming here to the White House, you will often see SWAT team officers standing throughout the White House, looking out, making sure, of course, to protect, give that official of the president extra protection.
Been here a little more than a year-and-a-half, and this is definitely the most activity we've seen here. So something is clearly of a concern enough to warrant this heightened state of alert.
HARRIS: It brings back to mind -- again, it happened maybe a couple of years ago, before they really put in some of those tougher roadblocks and what not around the White House to keep people from getting in and getting closer. Kelly, we are probably going to have you go and do some reporting on this: to go find out exactly what is going on there.
But can you give our viewers right now an update that you know?
WALLACE: Well, the latest is, I am to sorry to say, not much. All I can do is be sort of a witness here to what we are seeing. We are seeing the helicopter circle overhead. We're seeing officers continue to sort of patrol the grounds here at the White House. But we just don't know any more than that at this point.
KAGAN: You know, Kelly, this is kind of a wild idea. And I don't know if you guys at the White House are going to go for it. You know, you mentioned your photographer Jay McMichael. I don't know, maybe he can lock down his camera. And if he could come around and you could talk to him, he spent a number of years at the White House covering it. If he could just maybe give us a perspective of the amount of activity -- if he feels comfortable doing that -- of what he is seeing right now vs. what he's seen over the number of years that he's been working at the White House.
WALLACE: Absolutely, I am sure that he will do that. Let me hold the microphone here. And I am going to ask him the question, Daryn.
WALLACE: Daryn wants to know -- Jay, you've been here, extensive years of experience. From your vantage point, all the years of experience, how does this compare to what you've seen traditionally here at the White House?
JAY MCMICHAEL, CNN CAMERAMAN: Well, we had one other time when the man was on the Pennsylvania Avenue here. And he had shot at the White House. We had a similar sort of occurrence with the police activity. Today's activity is abnormal. When you see machine guns being drawn by the officers on the North Lawn, the counterassault team guys, then you know something is up.
So we saw police running earlier. And we just came out here as quick as we could. We saw the helicopter on the south side hovering over there. We thought maybe something might have been happening here. But now he's left. So, I mean, there are all sorts of rumors flying around. We're just trying to -- we can't confirm anything yet.
WALLACE: Let me ask you, what did you see...
HARRIS: Hey, Kelly...
WALLACE: I am sorry, Leon, I was just going to ask, Jay: What did you see -- what were the things that you saw before you and Bert (ph) came out here?
MCMICHAEL: We saw guns drawn. We saw police running as fast as they could in different directions. And as soon as we saw that, then we came out here. Our other colleagues Tim Garredy (ph) Rick Morris (ph) and Barry Schalagel (ph) and Mike Green (ph) also came out. And they've all gone to different sections just trying to figure out what is going on.
Usually and typically in these cases, what we have seen in the past is, a lot of times, they will try and lock us into the building, basically for our own protection. They didn't do that today. That was not one of the first things they did. And also one of the things that they will do is they will try and lock the gates down sometimes. They didn't do that either. So we've been able to get out and move around and -- but, basically, the Secret Service, the Uniformed Division, they are going to stay pretty tight-lipped until they know exactly what is going on. And then that will be up to you guys to figure out the rest at that point. So...
WALLACE: I think Leon -- did you have a question for Jay, Leon?
HARRIS: Kelly, what I wanted to find out now is that I can't see that much activity around you right now. Does it seem as though they have concentrated their forces in one particular area? Does is seem as though they have got things under control right now or what?
WALLACE: Well, you know, Leon, hard to say that. It does seem to be that there's not as much activity where we are, which is on the North Lawn, again, in front of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Again, we can see what is going over at the South Lawn and don't know exactly have a sense of where that helicopter is right now. So hard to say. It just doesn't seem to be as much activity right at the moment.
KAGAN: All right, Kelly and Jay, thank you very much. We will have you stand by.
We have on the phone with us right now our senior White House correspondent John King.
John, have you been able to get any more information about what might be happening in or around the White House?
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Daryn.
According to Secret Service and White House sources, at 11:36 this morning, a single gunman was seen outside of the southwest gate of the White House carrying a gun. The man was asked to stop. He did not try to jump the gate. He did not ever set foot inside of the White House grounds. But we are told by Secret Service sources that shots were fired. The man is in custody. And the search you're seeing on the White House grounds is a routine precaution to make sure there is no other improper activity on the ground. But the Secret Service is confident it was one man, that he has been shot, and that he is now in custody.
And this search, again, as you are seeing, is a routine search -- quite a bit of activity, but also to be expected given the fact that the president is on the grounds.
KAGAN: John, do we know anything else about the man?
KING: We do not. The Secret Service is not sure as yet even whether he was attempting to get onto the White House complex. But he was seen by the routine patrols they have around the grounds with the gun outside the southwest gate, we are told, again, at 11:36 Eastern Time. When the officers tried to approach -- we don't have many details yet -- but apparently the man resisted. So shots were fired.
Again, all of this took place outside the White House, but very close to the White House on the southwest gate. KAGAN: You said shots were fired. But do we understand that the man holding the gun was hit?
KING: We believe he was hit. A Secret Serviceman said he was in custody and shots were fired at the gunman. We have no specific details as yet. They are still pulling them together, obviously, as you see many of the agents involved would still be out on the scene. So we don't have an exact and we should be very careful in what we say about that. But we do know that shots were fired and the man is in custody.
KAGAN: And the man didn't make it anywhere into the secure area of the White House as far as we know.
KING: The Secret Service saying that he was near the southwest gate but he did not attempt to jump the gate nor was he at any time actually inside the White House complex.
KAGAN: So, once again, to understand the pictures that we've been watching live and also on tape here, John, with our viewers, this is just -- this is standard procedure when there appears to be some kind of incident near or around the White House. This is just to make sure that the grounds are secure.
KING: There are SWAT teams stationed at the White House all the time. There are uniformed agents scheduled at all the key points along the perimeter guarding the complex. There, of course, is the Secret Service detail, the nonuniformed detail that guards the president of the United States. And when you have an incident like this, even if shots were not fired, if the Secret Service agents around the perimeter declared some sense of alert, this is what you would see happen just as a precaution to make sure that there was not anything else involved.
Again, they believe at this time this is a single gunman who was seen outside the gate. He has been now taken into custody after shots were fired. And we have -- we are told that this search here is just to make sure that there's nothing involved in this -- at this time. The Secret Service is confident that that is the case, that this is a single gunman.
KAGAN: OK. And, John, maybe you can answer a question for us that we had earlier. What's the regular procedure when there is an incident on the White House grounds if the president is there? Is it just standard procedure to get him off the grounds or to get him to a secure area?
KING: No. In fact, they would not -- there's no standard procedure. They would do this on a case-by-case basis. And some of the stuff we do know about White House security and presidential security I would not discuss on the air. We do know that they would just keep the president in a secure location inside the White House.
KAGAN: OK, very good. So it appears right now that the situation would be under control at the White House. That's what your source is telling you. KING: We believe that to be the case. Obviously you still see a great deal of activity, and you would expect them to take extra precautions because it is, obviously, the White House. But we are told by the Secret Service that they believe things are under control, although they're conducting some searches.
KAGAN: John, are you near a television? Can you see what we're showing our viewers right now?
KING: Daryn, I'm actually going to ask you to hold one second if you could.
KAGAN: OK. All right, we'll let John go answer that question -- go answer the phone right now.
Right now, we're looking at some live pictures, this courtesy of our affiliate WTTG. The situation from outside the White House, if you look down close to the bottom of your screen near the graphic that says "breaking news," you might be able to see some yellow tape around an area.
The information that our senior White House correspondent John King reporting to us just a few moments ago, that there was an incident outside the White House, outside the grounds at 11:36 a.m. So that would have been just a few minutes ago. A man with a gun approached, would not give up, and so there were shots fired. And John King's sources telling him that the man was hit. He is in custody.
The pictures we've been showing you are what he said was standard procedure of just making sure the grounds are secure, that President Bush is safe and police believing at this point that this was just a single man by himself carrying a gun. And it would appear at this point the only person who would have been wounded would have been the man carrying the gun.
HARRIS: We should reiterate also that President Bush was never at any point...
HARRIS: in any danger because of this, because the man never did reach the grounds of the White House. As you can see here, we're back to our camera shot, I believe.
KAGAN: Right. Now back to you.
HARRIS: Now we've lost that just that quickly. Do we have the other camera shot that we're getting from out other affiliate in Washington to show folks?
KAGAN: There we go.
HARRIS: There we go. I believe this is coming in from -- which affiliate is this. This is not the same shot we had earlier. This is coming in from WTTG, our affiliate. We want to thank them for this. And as you can see there, it looks as though they do have the situation under control.
We have no information as yet on the identity of the man or, of course, any other information about where he's from, his motive or anything, or his condition, if -- we understand that he has been shot, as reported by John King. We have no idea whether or not he is en route to the hospital or en route to any other facility or whatever. So we are still looking for that information. I believe we're also going to try to track down our Kelly Wallace, who was reporting from the other side of the White House. And we also have John King scrambling to get some more information.
And as a matter of fact, even as we speak here, we're talking -- we're going to be talking here in our studio in just a moment as soon as we get him a microphone here, to Dwight Ellison.
KAGAN: Why don't you go ahead and set that up and I'll talk to our viewers about what we're looking at in these pictures.
KAGAN: Once again, this is live pictures coming to us from our affiliate WTTG. The situation, the scene the southwest -- outside the southwest gate of the White House where we believe the incident took place later -- earlier today, about 11:36 a.m. Eastern.
And I believe we have our John King is back with us.
John, have you been able to get anymore information?
KING: Yes, Daryn, again, I want to repeat: at 11:36, a single male subject carrying what the Secret Service now says in preliminary findings a handgun outside the southwest gate at the White House was spotted. That is an area patrolled by Park Police because of the Ellipse behind the White House as well as Secret Service. Shots were fired. The Secret Service cannot say as yet which division of law enforcement, but they say the man was shot and he was downed by law enforcement. Again, not whether it was by Secret Service or Park Police.
That man has been taken to an area hospital, we are told. The Secret Service saying they do not know which hospital as yet because, obviously, their attention focussed on the search you see going on on our air here. However, they say they are confident that this was a single gunman. They are just conducting a routine search of the grounds to make sure that -- as you can see here with the metal detector, looking here to gather any evidence that might be on the White House grounds. And the other search is just to make sure there is no other improper activity on the grounds.
Again, a single male subject believed to be carrying a handgun was seen outside the southwest gate of the White House. When he was seen, officers approached, shots were fired. That man is now in custody.
KAGAN: And, indeed, John, just by looking at these live pictures that we're seeing right now, just the whole mood of the officials there seem to be a lot calmer than even what we saw maybe 10 minute ago.
KING: Right. The initial burst of activity, obviously, gunshots fired near the White House, you would expect law enforcement to react quite aggressively. They were just making sure that there was nobody else on the grounds.
KAGAN: And then also, that area -- I assume now you can see a television -- the area where you can see the yellow tape blocking off, what is that restricting access to?
KING: That's restricting access to the scene where he was seen. That is right outside the southwest gate of the White House property. That is where the incident took place, so the police have obviously cordoned that off.
KAGAN: Right, well, I would assume that's where the incident took place, but what does that restrict?
KING: Daryn, I'm sorry, I'm going to ask you one more time to hold for a second. I have a call coming in.
KAGAN: OK, we'll let John go and answer the phone there. We also have other pictures we want to show you from the White House. This happening, I believe, just about the same time. These are people being escorted from the White House. These look much like the people we saw earlier today, the live event from the White House: President Bush with his tax family. There was a tax family reunion that he brought these people together, people he had met along the campaign trail, and thanking -- wanted to keep the promise of cutting taxes, and meeting -- and then inviting these people back to talk more about tax cuts.
HARRIS: They also could be just tourists, because, as you know, the White House...
KAGAN: That's true.
HARRIS: ... is a public building and it is open to tourists. And they conduct tours there on a regular basis.
KAGAN: But, again, we should also note the mood and the way they're being escorted does not look like there was any sense of panic or urgency, that people just being taken out of the White House. And, again, bear with our videotape. We're playing it as it comes in.
HARRIS: In fact, those folks may be surprised to find out what happened once they do get outside.
KAGAN: Yes, that's true. They may have no idea.
HARRIS: Now, let's talk about this -- let's talk with someone who may know about what's happening inside. We're joined here by Dwight Ellison, who has been with Turner Broadcasting as head of our security here for quite a while. But before doing that, Dwight, you served as a Secret Service agent in the White -- actually, we're going to -- hold on, Dwight. Before we get to you, we're going to go back to our John King...
KAGAN: OK, John.
HARRIS: ... who's gotten off the phone now -- John.
KING: Hello, Leon and Daryn.
More information from the Secret Service. First, the officer was shot in the leg.
KAGAN: The officer?
KING: I mean the suspect. I'm sorry, the suspect was shot in the leg by a Secret Service officer. That man has been taken into custody. The Secret Service now saying they are confident you have a single gunman. He's now in custody. They are securing the grounds, but they are confident that it was just the single individual. And we're told by the White House the president was in the White House residence at the time. He was told there was an alert on the grounds. He stayed in the residence area of the White House at the time. Never was the president in any danger. He had been scheduled to be in the residence, and he stayed there throughout this. He has now been told that the White House grounds have been secured.
And, again, a single gunman shot in the leg by a Secret Service officer now being taken to an area hospital. We do not know as yet what hospital.
HARRIS: John, did they give you any other information about the kind of gun or the kind of weapon he was carrying?
KING: They're still collecting information, Leon, from the officers who were out, actually at the scene. We are told that -- I'm told by a Secret Service spokesman preliminary information is that it was a handgun. But the Secret Service spokesman asking us to have some patience. Obviously their priority was on apprehending the suspect and on making sure the White House complex was secure. They say they will get us more information as they get it, but they believe it was a handgun.
KAGAN: Any more information on the gunman himself, John?
KING: No, just that it was a male and that he was shot in the leg. And, again, they say at no time did he try to climb the White House fence or try to get into the White House complex. But obviously he was sighted with this gun just outside the complex. That's why you see this high state of alert on the White House grounds, although things are much calmer now than they were just several minutes ago.
HARRIS: Now, John, several minutes ago you were telling us that this occurred around 36 after the hour. Can -- did you get any information at all from the Secret Service about exactly how long it took them to apprehend this man after they identified him?
KING: We do not have any information on that as yet, although we just know from the activity on the scene and from when we were able to get in touch with Secret Service sources, it was very quickly. Obviously there are both Park Police and Secret Service uniformed agents permanently stationed, as well as walking and bike patrols in the area where this took place. Obviously once they saw a man with a gun they responded immediately. And we believe it was just a matter of minutes, if not seconds, in which there was a confrontation. But an exact tick-tock we do not have yet. The Secret Service now debriefing the officers who were at the scene to compile all that information.
KAGAN: John, just to add to the excellent information you've been able to give us, Associated Press is now reporting there's actually a teenager. It was a 17-year-old. And Associated Press is also saying, off the wire, saying that the teen actually shot himself.
I don't know if you've been able to get information about that, or if you want to go make some calls.
KING: It's not been -- I just -- I was told it was a young man, that the Service did not have the age just yet, and that the man was shot in the leg by an officer. Whether they were self-inflicted wounds as well, we do not have that information.
HARRIS: And, John, you're -- you're quite certain -- or the Secret Service is quite certain that this person did not fire any shots himself?
KING: I do not know the answer to that. Whether the man discharged his gun or not, whether the suspect discharged his gun is something we do not know at this moment.
Obviously, as you've mentioned, there are some reports that he turned the gun on himself. There's often conflicting and contradictory...
KING: ... information in a situation like this.
But what the Secret Service is telling us is that he was spotted at 11:36 and that he was shot in the leg by a law enforcement officer later identified to be a member of the Secret Service, and that he has been taken to an area hospital.
HARRIS: And just one last time, John, for our other purposes here. Can you pinpoint exactly the point where this happened? How far away was it from the White House? How far away from the Oval Office?
KING: Well, the southwest gate is, oh, 150 yards, maybe 200 yards from the building itself. The president was in the residence at the time, not in the Oval Office. It's quite a large complex here at the White House. I have to go out and measure it for you. But you can see in the diagram where you're -- where you're looking there.
KING: And from the -- from the building itself to the southwest gate is a matter of 100 yards or so, give or take a little.
KAGAN: OK, well, don't go measure things. But why don't we let you cut you loose for just a bit. John, we'll let you go make a few more phone calls.
In the meantime, bring in our Dwight Ellison who has the expertise and the experience of having being on the Secret Service.
HARRIS: Exactly. And...
KAGAN: And now just finding out he's protecting us here at CNN.
HARRIS: And that's one of the reasons why I wanted to get John to give us an idea of the distance involved here because Dwight, you are quite familiar with this -- with this scene here at the White House and with that area. From that distance, there's absolutely no way anything could have gotten through to the White House, correct?
DWIGHT ELLISON, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Well, a round could have reached the White House itself. But it's doubtful that a round would have been able to penetrate any portion of it.
KAGAN: We're talking about handgun?
ELLISON: Handgun or rifle.
HARRIS: Now, we were asking moments ago about -- whether or not there was a procedure in place for an event like this. If, for instance, if the president had been in the Oval Office or whatever; if there was an established Secret Service procedure or whatever.
Can you tell us whether or not there is something like that in place for this?
ELLISON: Absolutely, there is a procedure. I can't go into detail. But there is a procedure. Not only for responding to instances outside the Oval Office, but there is a procedure that allows or causes the agents to go into a form of action to remove the president on the certain situations and evacuate him.
Or depending upon the nature of the incident, the president may choose to stay where he is.
KAGAN: Dwight, help us put in perspective some of these pictures that we're seeing live right now. Of course, it looks like the mood has definitely calmed down a bit.
But in terms of the weapons that officers are carrying, that you see them carrying around the White House grounds. We're also seeing a lot of pictures of men up on the roof with high-powered binoculars.
Everyday kind of stuff?
ELLISON: Yes. What you don't see and probably what you don't know is that in a situation like this, there exists an emergency response or rapid response team, primarily made up of uniform officers. Those guys will respond to the grounds.
If there are someone on the grounds, they will provide an immediate search. Dogs are included. MPD is notified. Metropolitan police, Park police are notified. Both units, which are on patrol, routinely, during -- 24 hours a day.
This service has other forms of patrol outside of the White House grounds. All of these entities go into action rapidly when there's an incident. The decision to do or not to do what with a president is made by the agent who is responsible for the president's protection, along with the chief of staff and the president himself.
Depending upon the gravity of the incident, again, the president may be moved. The president may not. In this instance, based on what I've heard, the president was in the White House. He was in the residence. There's probably no reason to move him, but just to alert him.
HARRIS: Explain to us the coordination that's involved here between the Park Police and the Secret Service because John King moments ago said that the Park Police actually there involved.
KAGAN: Right, that happened in the area the Park Police patrol normally. So it's Park Police and Secret Service.
So who's in charge when it's an instant situation like that?
ELLISON: The Secret Service is responsible for protection of the White House grounds. Those acres of the grounds inside the fence.
Park Police, because this is in fact a national park, is jointly responsible for an investigative effort following an incident. They're responsible for the grounds surrounding the White House. The ellipse area, the parks surrounding that, they're responsible for all of that.
Any incident that occurs in and around those areas, there's a joint task force, an equivalent of a joint task force, which will investigate this incident and do so as quickly as possible.
If there's a casualty, if there's any hint that a terrorist act or group activity is involved, then the FBI would probably be called in to assist in the investigation.
In fact, I'm certain they would be.
HARRIS: Now, what about who would be responsible for this person's being taken into custody at this particular point? Any idea whether or not if that would be the Park Police or that would be the Secret Service?
ELLISON: Probably depends upon who apprehends him and where he's apprehended.
HARRIS: Whoever gets him first keeps him. Is that it?
ELLISON: If he's on the park, if he's on park property, he's Park Police custody. If he's on city streets, in the city -- in the streets themselves, he's probably MPD. If he was on the White House grounds, he's ours -- or -- I'm sorry. He belongs to the Secret Service. And they think...
KAGAN: Hard to get that out even after all the years.
HARRIS: A little reflex there.
ELLISON: It's -- it's hard to get it out.
He would then be turned over to either MPD, Park Police or the FBI, depending upon the nature of the incident.
KAGAN: OK, Dwight, we'll have you sit tight with us and hang on here.
We also have with us Eileen O'Connor who's joining from the phone, who I believe has with her an eyewitness of this incident that took place just about 30 minutes ago, just outside the southwest gate of the White House.
Eileen, are you there?
EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I am.
I'm with Martin Manley, who is an eyewitness. He was walking by the southwest gate.
I'm going to put him on the phone with you, Daryn, right now. I'm on the ellipse. We should hopefully get our shot out shortly.
But in the meantime, let me tell -- let me have him tell you what he saw -- Martin..
MARTIN MANLEY, EYEWITNESS: Yes, hello. This is Martin.
KAGAN: Hi, Martin. It's Daryn Kagan here at CNN.
We'd like to -- you were an eyewitness? You saw what happened here about half an hour ago?
MANLEY: Yes. I was approximately 75, 80 feet away heading toward the White House from my hotel. And I heard -- I thought it was three shots.
At first, I thought it was a car backfiring. But then I realized it was something else when a lady in the parking lot right next to me slammed on her breaks, jumped out of her car and hit the ground.
Shortly after that, probably a minute after that, I saw the first police car pull up. The officer jumped out of his vehicle and jumped behind a tree and pulled out his weapon.
So then I realized I'd better hit the deck, too.
KAGAN: And then could you see anything after that? Or were you busy protecting yourself, which is a good idea as well?
MANLEY: No. I was -- I was looking through the window of her van towards the White House. The man jumped in the bushes right by the White House there, and...
KAGAN: You mean the gunman did?
MANLEY: The gunman, that's correct.
The lady that jumped out of her van right next to me, she said that she saw him holding a handgun and just pointing and randomly shooting. I thought I heard three shots. Some other people next to me thought they heard two shots.
Approximately 20 minutes -- maybe 15 to 20 minutes past by, while the police were talking to him, telling him, It doesn't have to be this way, put the gun down, a helicopter circled overhead, then. And then, I heard one more shot. And the police all rushed in right away.
HARRIS: So Martin...
KAGAN: Did you -- I'm sorry -- did you get a look at the gunman? We're hearing that he's young.
MANLEY: I did not get a look at the gunman.
HARRIS: All right, Martin, this is Leon Harris here along with Daryn Kagan in Atlanta.
Now, to go back over your story here, did you -- from what you saw, from what you could tell, did you hear or see shots being fired before the officers came and started their own fire? Is that what you saw?
MANLEY: That is definitely the case. I heard, I thought, three shots. There were no officers on the scene when I heard those shots, unless they were undercover. There were no police officers in uniform around that area when I heard the first shots being fired. It was approximately a minute or two later before first police pulled up then.
HARRIS: And when you saw him jump in the bushes, did you see him do so with a gun drawn? Was he shooting at that time?
MANLEY: No, he was not. He was just standing in the street, and just randomly fired a few shots. It didn't look like it was -- it could have been directed at somebody. But I guess I really don't know at this point.
KAGAN: And at what vantage point were you able to watch this from, Martin? MANLEY: I was in the parking lot probably 75, 80 feet away, heading in the direction of the White House.
HARRIS: So could you tell -- you said he was firing randomly. So you really couldn't tell exactly what it was or who it was he may have been firing at?
MANLEY: That's correct.
HARRIS: What about around him? Was there -- were there a lot of people around there on the street, or was it just the other lady that you happened to mention who was in the van?
MANLEY: No. There were people still after he was firing. There were people walking around. No one really knew what was happening. It wasn't until the police got there that everyone started scattering. There wasn't a large crowd there. It was maybe 20 to 30 people walking up and down the sidewalk at the time. It wasn't very busy. I think just the people that were really close were the only ones that started to run. And everyone else didn't realize what was happening.
KAGAN: Kind of sense of disbelief, a disconnect that it didn't seem -- when something like that is happening right in front of you, that it doesn't really seem like it could be?
MANLEY: That's correct. There is another eyewitness here, if you would like to talk to her.
KAGAN: That would be great.
HARRIS: Sure. Put her on the phone.
MANLEY: Or him. (CROSSTALK)
MANLEY: Lynn Halliburton. Hold, please.
LYNN HALLIBURTON, EYEWITNESS: Yes.
KAGAN: Hi, you're on CNN. You're talking with Daryn Kagan and Leon Harris. We're down in Atlanta.
L. HALLIBURTON: Hi.
KAGAN: Can tell us what you saw about 40 minutes ago? L. HALLIBURTON: Has it been 40 minutes already?
KAGAN: It already has.
HARRIS: Just about, yes.
(LAUGHTER) L. HALLIBURTON: Yes. Well, we had just gotten here. We were taking some photos of the White House. And we were directly across the street, pretty much center. And we started walking off towards our right. I don't know which way that is. But, anyway, we heard a couple of shots.
KAGAN: Hey, Lynn, Lynn. We want to hear your story. Hold on one second. We just wanted to tell our viewers, what are watching -- and I'm sure you can't see this right now.
L. HALLIBURTON: No.
KAGAN: But we actually are showing on CNN pictures of the suspect, who is arriving at the hospital -- D.C. Fire Department taking him out of the ambulance. There -- you can tell he's a young man.
HARRIS: Can't tell how young.
KAGAN: Yes, George Washington University. How much you can take from the pictures, I don't know. But we're bringing you the pictures and the story as we get it. so as we continue to show pictures, Lynn, why don't you go ahead and pick up. And I apologize for interrupting -- well, what you saw at 11:36 a.m.
L. HALLIBURTON: OK. That's OK. Anyway, we were -- we had just taken some photos. And we were heading off to go around the other side of the White House. And we heard a couple of shots. Really, kind of joked about it and said, "Well, they will be all over that." And within seconds, the police had showed up and were talking to a man we think was in the bushes right in front of the White House there.
They were talking to him to tell him to put the gun down. And, you know, and: "You don't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way." And basically we got cleared out. So we were probably, when the whole thing happened, we were probably within 100 feet of the whole thing. So -- and then we have just been standing here the whole time.
And we heard -- I think we saw -- a little later, we thought we heard another shot -- probably 20 minutes later. And that was it. So we're hearing it from everybody else right now.
HARRIS: Lynn, is it Lynn or Glenn?
L. HALLIBURTON: Lynn: l-y-n-n.
HARRIS: All right, Lynn, I just wanted to get that straight. But you said you were taking pictures at the time when all this happened. Did you think to turn around your camera and take a picture of this?
L. HALLIBURTON: Well, we were talking about that, too. And my buddy that has the camera -- there was actually a man in the way. To ourselves, we were like: Get out of the way so we can take a picture. And that was it. We didn't pay any attention to anything after that. HARRIS: You could have the new Zapruder film, you know.
HARRIS: Were you at any time worried about your own safety at all?
L. HALLIBURTON: Well, you know what? We didn't really think about it until all the cops showed up. And then the next thing we know, it's -- in a way, this is pretty serious you know. And not being from around here -- I'm from California. So not from being around here, I don't know how normal or, you know...
HARRIS: Well, Lynn, we're going to -- Lynn, hang on just a second. We want to tell folks again what they are watching right now. This is some more video that we're getting in from this suspect being delivered to the hospital here. This is the D.C. Fire Department emergency officials there. We can't see -- have we seen the body come out -- or the man come out of the...
KAGAN: We've seen him come out. And maybe if we do -- Lynn, if you were standing there watching, did you get a good look at the gunman?
L. HALLIBURTON: We never saw him. We just knew he was in the bushes from what the police were saying, the way they were talking to him, because they were crouched down behind a barricade. And that's the direction they were pointed. And it was within -- the way I -- I think it was within the grounds. But I don't know if that's true or not. You guys would probably know that. I wouldn't.
HARRIS: So you couldn't see either where exactly this male might have been shooting toward, what he was hitting or anything?
L. HALLIBURTON: No. We just heard the gunshots.
KAGAN: Yes, when we were talking to the last eyewitness, Martin Manley, he was saying that there wasn't a sense of panic when this was happening, that people who were around it really didn't get a sense it was this urgent situation. Would you agree with that as well?
L. HALLIBURTON: Well, there wasn't a whole lot of people around. We -- there was a few people, like I said, in front of it when we were -- when we were taking the pictures. And then we were across the street, a little street there. I don't know the name of it. And we were trying to get across. We were standing at the crosswalk -- heading to the crosswalk when we heard the shots and just kind of turned around and we saw the -- like a black Suburban or something pulled up with some unmarked police or somebody that, you know, were talking to the gunmen.
At that point, we knew it was serious. And we were interested. But we had to leave.
HARRIS: Well, you got more than your bargained for on this trip to the White House, Lynn.
L. HALLIBURTON: Oh, yes. Yes.
HARRIS: At least you're leaving in one piece.
L. HALLIBURTON: Absolutely.
HARRIS: With a good story, too.
KAGAN: But no pictures, for God's sake.
HARRIS: But no pictures.
KAGAN: Forget to take the pictures. Remember that. Thank you for sharing your story.
As we continue to show these live pictures from the White House. If you are just joining us, maybe this would be a good time to go ahead and recap what we know and what took place about 45 minutes ago: 11:36 a.m. Eastern.
A single gunman right outside the southwest gate of the White House showed up carrying what we believe is a handgun. He was approached by officers. Shots were fired. And we believe the suspect was shot in his leg. And we were showing you pictures before that suspect has been taken to a -- to George Washington University hospital.
HARRIS: There is still some confusion about who shot whom or whether or not the suspect got any shots off. We may have some more information about that coming up around 1:30 Eastern.
HARRIS: The White House -- where there will be the regular everyday 1:30 p.m. briefing with the press there -- by Ari Fleischer, the press secretary. But this time around, we may get some extra information. I am sure they're working on putting together something right now for us.
KAGAN: Yes, I would assume that would be the first thing that they go ahead and talk about.
All right, with more witnesses who can tell us what they saw that took place less than an hour ago, let's bring in our Eileen O'Connor, who is standing by near the White House -- Eileen.
EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn, we drove up here. And we're still seeing a lot of police activity on the Ellipse, which is beyond the south side of the White House, which is where this incident took place. They say that they are now just checking and basically making sure that everything is secure. And with me as well as -- now we have him on camera -- Lynn Halliburton.
Sorry, Lynn Halliburton, Martin Manley and also Geraldine (ph) Halliburton.
Geraldine, you were with Lynn. What did you see around the southwest gate?
GERALDINE HALLIBURTON, EYEWITNESS: Well, we didn't see anything. We heard two shots. And I made a joke: "So they are going to shoot us, huh?" And he said, "Oh that was just fireworks, firecrackers." He said, "But you know what? They will be here in a minute, the police and stuff." And by the time we looked around, they were there just like that.
O'CONNOR: And how many police were there?
G. HALLIBURTON: Oh, man. They come in with -- it was like a Tahoe type.
L. HALLIBURTON: Like a black Suburban or something that pulled up.
G. HALLIBURTON: A Suburban or something like that.
O'CONNOR: And what happened then? Were they...
G. HALLIBURTON: Well, they kind of asked us to go further away. And, of course, we stood around and watched. And they came and got us farther and farther away. But we the police heard ask the man to give up: "Please give up. We can help you. Let's don't do this." And at the end, they were kind of asking us to leave.
O'CONNOR: OK. And what happened?
Martin, you said, too, that you heard the police talking to them. How long did they talk to them before -- you said you actually heard then another single shot?
MANLEY: Yes, I originally thought I heard three gunshots. And then the police pulled up, you know, within about a minute. Within three or four minutes, several police cars were pulling up. I was directly on the opposite side of the street as the Halliburtons. And I didn't realize how serious it was until the police were jumping out of their cars with their guns drawn. And they were hiding behind large trees.
So that's when I got down. And they probably talked to him for, I would say, a good 10, 15 minutes. And all I could make out was, you know, "Drop the gun. It doesn't have to be this way. We can talk to you." And then the police were -- as they were moving us back, I still tried to keep an eye on the scene. And I heard a single gunshot. And right as soon as I heard that gunshot, all the police just converged in the bushes area right outside the White House there.
O'CONNOR: So then you assume that the gunman then was shot? We do know that he was shot in the leg, according to our senior White House correspondent John King, who has that from Secret Service officials. So does that appear to have been the time that he was shot? MANLEY: Yes, there was just a single gunshot. The police had him surrounded for a good 15 minutes before I heard that single gunshot. And then immediately, they all just converged on him. And then they brought an ambulance in. And they were gone shortly after.
O'CONNOR: So did you see him getting into the ambulance at all? Did you see any other people hanging around the southwest gate at all? Or were the police looking for other people, did it appear to you?
MANLEY: No, it appeared to me that they -- the police were just focusing on that one area of the bushes where he was. And it wasn't -- I would like to make clear, it wasn't the bushes right next to the White House. It was down near the street running by the White House.
O'CONNOR: We are apparently seeing tape of the suspect on television right now in -- and this is -- being taken away. I'm not quite sure because I can't see air. He's at the hospital right now. We're hopefully going to get some kind of briefing as to his condition. But we do know, as we've said, reported before, that he was shot in the leg.
Lynn, did you see him being loaded onto the -- into the ambulance at all? Did you talk to any of the policemen?
L. HALLIBURTON: No. No. We were -- we stayed as close as we could stay. And then they kept pushing us farther and farther back. So after a while we couldn't hear anything except for the sirens. And then, I don't know, probably 15, 20 minutes later, we did hear one single gunshot, but we couldn't see any more after that. Obviously, you see where we're at now -- that's because we got forced this way.
So other than that, we didn't see anything. We did see the ambulance take off, so we assumed.
O'CONNOR: Did any of you hear him make any demands or make any protest about anything, some kind of cause?
L. HALLIBURTON: We never heard a word. I never heard a word. We just heard the two shots as we were walking by, and I made a comment that well, they'll be all over that in a heartbeat. And, yes, within a few seconds that's when the police had showed up.
O'CONNOR: And we do know there is obviously a lot of security around the White House. And I wanted to ask you, Martin, when you said that at first, you thought it was just a car backfiring, but that you noticed other people acting kind of strangely. What happened exactly at that moment?
MANLEY: Well, I was walking near a parking lot, and a lady in a minivan put her van in reverse and was going about as fast as you can in reverse, slammed on her brakes and jumped out of her car and hit the ground in the parking lot. And she said she actually saw the guy with the gun out and he was just firing and it didn't appear to her to be at anyone, just firing the gun randomly a couple times. And then I realized that I'd better hide behind her van too.
O'CONNOR: Probably a good idea.
We're seeing right now also the helicopter that was hovering overhead before is now taking off, taking another swing by the south lawn of the White House.
But it does appear, Daryn and Leon, that again, the police have secured this situation here. They are still doing sweeps. They are keeping people away, but they have allowed some people who have been playing soccer over here to resume that game, that pickup soccer game.
Again, we are on the Ellipse, which is just south of the south lawn of the White House -- Daryn.
HARRIS: All right, thanks Eileen O'Connor, reporting live there.
Let's check in with our John King, who's standing by at the White House. John King was the first one to confirm for us exactly what -- what had happened there with the shooting.
John, what have you learned so far?
KING: Well, Leon, first and foremost, we should say the Secret Service now considers the area to be secure. They say this gentleman, based on their best evidence right now, was acting alone.
You may have a little difficulty hearing me because of helicopters overhead.
He is a 47-year-old white male, we are told, a 47-year-old white male.
He was seen by several members of the public outside the southwest perimeter of the White House complex brandishing a weapon. Several members of the public, we're told by Secret Service sources, alerted the Secret Service agents stationed around the perimeter of the White House.
At that point, we're told by these sources, several agents approached the man and asked him to turn himself in. At that point, there was preliminary evidence that -- again, we stress they're still collecting evidence from offices on the field, in the field -- that the man said something about killing himself.
At that point, he also brandished his weapon in the direction of several law enforcement officers, we are told by sources; and at that point, based on the preliminary Secret Service investigation, a single shot was fired by a Secret Service officer, wounding this man -- again, a 47-year-old white male -- in the leg.
He has been taken to George Washington Hospital. As we have seen in the pictures, he is being treated now.
None of the law enforcement officers were injured in this -- the Secret Service saying it is aware that some of the witnesses say they heard two or three shots fired. They are still collecting evidence from officers in the field. They don't rule out more than one officer opened fire.
They do not believe, at this moment, that the man actually fired his weapon, but again, they are examining that weapon now to see if it was fired. And that's what you see outside on the perimeter with all the yellow tape and the metal detectors: law enforcement officers looking for any evidence that additional shots were fired.
And again, we should stress the president was in the White House residence throughout this, was alerted that there was security issue around the perimeter of the White House. He was safe at all times, never considered to be under any danger. Indeed, this gentleman did not get inside the White House complex; he was seen just outside it, and never was he seen trying to get onto the White House complex -- we should make that clear as well -- Leon.
HARRIS: Well, John, we expect a briefing by -- by the White House press secretary in about 35 minutes or so. This is -- actually, in about an hour or so -- this is going to be the regular daily briefing there. What other information are you waiting to hear from Ari Fleischer?
KING: Well, I'm actually going to speculate just a little bit here, and I'm going to be careful not to speculate today about most of this, but the general operating procedure of prior administrations, both the prior Bush administration and the Clinton administration, has been to refer most of the questions to the Secret Service, which is where we're getting our information about the law enforcement activities.
I'm sure Mr. Fleischer will repeat what other White House officials told us: that the president was in the residence, as scheduled, he was immediately told there was a security issue on the campus, never was he in any danger, according the White House.
As to the tick tock of the law enforcement investigation, it has been tradition of past White House administrations to refer those questions to the Secret Service beyond, perhaps, giving a tick tock supply to them by the Secret Service.
KAGAN: John, do you have any more information about the weapon the man was carrying?
KING: We were told that we believe it to be a handgun, but again, they are still conducting that investigation, and again, several witnesses, members of the public out there where you just saw Eileen O'Connor with those witnesses actually saw the man brandishing a weapon and, we're told, then alerted Secret Service agents around the perimeter of the White House. It was at that point that they tried to clear the area.
You see it there on the map there, at the southwest gate of the White House. There's a little bit of traffic that goes through there, and obviously it's heavily populated by tourists and others passersby in Washington.
They're not giving us as yet the identity of the man -- they say they're still checking into that -- except to say he is a 47-year-old white male, shot once in the leg by a Secret Service officer.
KAGAN: Earlier we were seeing pictures, John, of a bunch of people being escorted out of the White House. It wasn't a panic situation, it wasn't rushed -- not sure if it was regular White House tourists, or you know, there was that event earlier today that President Bush had hosted, to promote his tax cut proposals.
KING: It may have been a combination of the two. You have you sometimes visitors, political visitors, to the White House, and whenever there is a security lockdown, as they call it on the campus here, there are people either are told where they can and cannot go -- and it would not be extraordinary at all, because the tours go in and out of east side of the White House, where there are tour lines, people waiting in line out there -- if there was a security situation on the campus, those people, if the Secret Service and other law enforcement believed it was safe to move them, would move them as quickly as possible out of the complex.
KAGAN: All right, John King. We'll let you gather some more information if there is more information to be gathered -- we're going to bring back in Dwight Ellison.
HARRIS: Yes, because Dwight's been sitting here listening to the entire time to both our reports from John King as well as the eyewitness reports that we've been -- Eileen O'Connor's been able to gather for us this morning.
And Dwight, with your experience with the Secret Service, do those eyewitness reports tell you anything, particularly about the way the whole thing was handled, how it was squashed. Anything at all?
ELLISON: Well, it sounds as if everything was done right. I can tell you that. If the incident occurred or happened in the vicinity of the southwest gate, officers assigned to that particular post would have certain responsibilities, I should say. Others who patrol the perimeter would respond as a direct result of having been notified that an incident occurred at this location, so those officers and agents assigned to the White House itself, be it around the perimeter or inside the buildings, inside the residence -- or the residence or the west wing, would secure those areas and not necessarily respond outside of that.
HARRIS: Well, I saw your eyes brighten, when Mrs. Halliburton was describing the vehicle she saw pull up and officers coming out and when she said that it was a black Tahoe or Suburban. What does that tell you? Or can you tell us what that tells you?
ELLISON: Well, there may be two or three different scenarios. The Secret Service has a counterassault team that responds to such incidents, the Park Police does as well, and P.D. does. That vehicle could very easily have been occupied by either of those different units, and they would respond to a shooting, to a riot, to an incident involving individuals attempting to penetrate the White House grounds. That's why they're there, and they're there all the time.
HARRIS: Now, John King also reported that this suspect was shot in the leg. I'm going to guess that was...
KAGAN: The secret service is saying that they shot the suspect.
HARRIS: And they're saying -- the Secret Service is saying -- that they shot the suspect.
HARRIS: And they're saying they shot the suspect. And assuming -- well, maybe we shouldn't assume -- but does that tell you anything? Was that by something that by training that they do: not necessarily to take the man out, to put him down for good, just to put him down so they can actually apprehend him?
ELLISON: It's hard to say not having been there. I can tell you what training tells you: If your life is in danger, if you perceive it to be, or if the life of another person is in danger, you are authorized to fire your weapon. In this instance, we don't know what condition or what position the suspect -- the suspect was in -- the person shot. We don't know. If he was shot in the leg, he's probably lucky.
KAGAN: Dwight, you stay with us, please.
We also have Eileen O'Connor with us once again, I believe.
Eileen, you found another eyewitness to the incident that took place almost an hour ago outside the White House grounds?
O'CONNOR: Yes, I do. I have a man named John Piana.
Mr. Piana was, in fact, inside on the what's the self-guided White House tour.
Let me put you on.
He was -- saw a lot of activity just as he was exiting the White House. And I'll have him tell you about that, Daryn -- hold on.
JOHN PIANA, EYEWITNESS: Hello.
KAGAN: Hello, Mr. Piana?
KAGAN: Hi, it's Daryn Kagan at CNN here in Atlanta.
Tell us what you saw when -- earlier this morning.
PIANA: Well, I was just exiting the self-guided tour. And as I was walking out, they started closing the big iron gates behind us. And the -- you know, the security people started to usher us out real orderly. But they were definitely telling you to get out.
And suddenly, all these police cars, marked -- unmarked cars came up. A few of them popped the trunk, and they -- everybody got around them, threw their gun. And two of the guys in the suits were putting on bullet-proof vests. And everybody kind of just hunkered down behind the car for a while and behind their cars. And then they got us down to the street corner.
And as we were down there, we were -- about maybe another five, ten minutes, there were helicopters in the air. And finally we heard a large -- just a boom. And all of a sudden, everybody up to that boom, all the officers that were behind their cars, everybody took off towards that boom. So it obviously sounded like it must have been a shooting, I would -- I would guess.
And few minutes after that, five, ten minutes, an ambulance came in. Then the ambulance -- a helicopter landed on the yards at the White House. And it's just a -- it was quite a thing.
KAGAN: Mr. Piana, hold on one second.
We want to let our viewers know now that we're getting word from George Washington University, the hospital there where the suspect has been taken, that they plan to hold a news conference in about the next half hour on the suspect's condition. So of course when that takes place -- and that will be about 1:00 p.m. Eastern, we'll bring that live to our viewers.
Also at 1:35, we're expecting a White House briefing -- or 1:30, we're expecting the White House.
And also, sometime in -- coming up shortly, we're expecting a news conference from the Secret Service themselves.
All right, actually, we're now getting word that the hospital will be releasing a statement in half an hour.
Any case, it will be new information on the condition of the suspect who is at the hospital at George Washington University. Our information right now is that he was shot in the leg. It was a single shot. And no one else was injured in the incident.
Now, Mr. Piana, back to you. Are you still with us?
KAGAN: When you were being escorted out, was there any sense of panic, or was it all very orderly?
PIANA: No. It was very orderly. But you could tell by the -- you know, the tone of their voice and -- I mean, they all had their guns drawn to get out. And it wasn't a very large group. Maybe 15 or 20 of us that squired out of the side there. And, you know, they just kept pushing us and pushing us farther out.
And, you know, no panic at all. I was very impressed with the way they handled everything.
KAGAN: And did they tell what you was happening?
PIANA: No. They -- we asked them, of course. And they just said it was an incident. An incident, that was it. And we just -- we just kind of stand and watch. There was no word until then. And you know, we had heard the boom, so we assumed it was a shooting. But they -- nobody said anything, so.
KAGAN: And by that time, you were at a very safe place.
PIANA: Oh, yes, yes. When they told me to leave, that you don't have to tell me twice, so.
KAGAN: Yes. Actually, I would imagine they get the idea across very well, that they mean business.
PIANA: So, yes, when they're behind their cars with their guns drawn, you know you don't want to be in the neighborhood, so.
HARRIS: Hi, Mr. Piana, Leon Harris at CNN along with Daryn in Atlanta.
Just, can you clarify one thing for us? You say you heard a noise.
HARRIS: We're -- we're getting conflicting reports this morning from our own reporters, from the information we're getting from the Secret Service, some of the other eyewitnesses that we've talked to. We've talked to them this morning, and all had different ideas or different numbers of different booms or pops that they've heard.
You say -- did you only hear one for sure. Is that it?
PIANA: That's all I heard. Yes, that's for sure. That's for sure.
There was one another immediately -- unless two bang, bang together. But all -- you know, I was maybe, I don't know, a block or two away where they put us on the street.
And all I heard was one. And immediately after that, that's when everybody moved in. So it wasn't like a gun battle or anything that I knew of, as everybody was holding their position.
KAGAN: All right, John Piana, thank you for joining us on the phone and telling us what you saw.
Coming up right just about an hour ago, at 11:36 a.m., that this incident took place outside the southwest gate of the White House.
HARRIS: That's exactly it.
And what we know so far is that a man was seen outside the southwest gate of the White House with a gun. This man has been apprehended now by authorities who say, We can't pin down for sure who it was. The Secret Service is giving us all of our information so far.
You are looking at pictures now that we're just -- we are now just getting in. This is video that's being provided to us.
But this is -- actually this is the Secret Service. You can see the collection of Secret Service agents there against the fence. They have jumped on to the suspect, we are being told now. That is the picture you're -- you're seeing here being replayed for your in slow motion.
And again, this happened some perhaps 30 -- it's already about an hour...
KAGAN: An hour...
HARRIS: ... to maybe less than an hour ago. They were sitting right out there, talking to him for some 15, 20 minutes or so. So we will get that information pinned down later for you. But we cannot see the suspect, but we assume that is him at the bottom of that pile.
He has been taken to George Washington University Hospital. He has been shot. We've got out reports from our John King at the White House, that he's been shot in the leg by a Secret Service personnel.
At this point, it's a little unclear as to whether or not that suspect actually did get any shots off. The shots -- anything he could have done was nowhere near the White House, we are being told by all sources.
There was no incident there at the White House. But now, the wheels of justice are going to begin to turn up for this person who's been taken into custody. We understand that he's a 47-year-old white male.
Actually, let's -- now, we -- let's turn down to -- actually, Daryn, you've got something else here?
KAGAN: Right, I do. Yes, you can see that that's the Washington, D.C. Fire Department bringing the suspect into the hospital.
And we have on the phone with us now Alan Etter with the fire department in D.C. -- Alan.
ALAN ETTER, WASHINGTON D.C. FIRE DEPT.: Good afternoon. Hi, yes.
KAGAN: Yes, what can you tell us about this suspect? Do you know anything about his condition when you brought him in or?
ETTER: Well, he's -- he's -- he's in surgery right now, I'm told, at the George Washington University Medical Center in the northwest Washington.
All I can say is that he has a gunshot to the body. I don't know how he got it, whether it was self-inflicted or whether it was by some other means. But he's in surgery right now. KAGAN: The information we have so far, both from pictures and sources, that it's a 47-year-old white male. Can you add anything to that?
ETTER: That's -- that's all we can say so far. The actual steps -- that the progress of how the shooting happened here is -- actually, the story's being put together by the Secret Service right now. And they will have something more to say about that a little bit later.
KAGAN: Yes, we understand that they are having their own news conference. We're expecting a news conference from the White House about an hour from now, at 1:30.
Can you tell us about your department responding when got the call, and how close...
ETTER: We had...
KAGAN: ... your paramedics were?
ETTER: I can tell you that we had a call at 11:31 for a report of an attempted suicide here at the southwest gate of the White House. And when we got here, we found this victim suffering from a gunshot wound. And he was taken immediately. He was treated actually here on the scene by EMTs, emergency medical technicians here on the scene, and then transported to the G.W. where his condition is unknown right now.
KAGAN: All right, very good -- go ahead.
HARRIS: One question before you -- I want to -- before we let you go, you say you got a call about a suicide attempt. Who was it who called it a suicide attempt?
ETTER: Well, I understand that there was a 911 call placed. And it may have come from a cell phone. That's just what preliminarily I'm hearing here at the scene. The Secret Service certainly may have -- may have contacted the authorities themselves. But we're -- we're still unsure exactly how the emergency call came to us.
KAGAN: And for folks who are not familiar with the D.C. area, how far from where the suspect would have been picked up to where the hospital is?
ETTER: Oh, it's -- it's within a mile. It's within a mile.
KAGAN: Very close.
ETTER: It's -- it's about nine blocks, actually.
KAGAN: Very close.
Thank you very much, Alan Etter, with the fire department in Washington, D.C., telling us more about transporting the suspect from the site just outside the White House to Washington University Hospital. And as he reported, he heard that the suspect right now is in surgery.
HARRIS: And also another angle there, this idea of this possibly being a suicide attempt.
KAGAN: Or at least the call they got.
HARRIS: That's right.
KAGAN: We'll have to wait and hear more about that.
HARRIS: As a matter of fact, we are also seeing the copy that we're getting from our reporters there on the scene saying that the agents asked the man to surrender the weapon. And he spoke to them about wanting to commit suicide...
KAGAN: All right.
HARRIS: ... and rebuffed the second request to hand over the gun before he was shot. This, officials are telling us this information -- giving this information to our own reporters there. John King at the White House. We'll get more on that and sort of try to nail that down.
But in the meantime, let's talk now to our Greta Van Susteren, who normally would be on the air right now, doing her own show.
And since you are here and you came to work, we're going to put you to work, Greta.
What exactly happens next now for this suspect?
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Actually, Leon, what happens is that it's rather routine.
This man has been taken to the George Washington Hospital, which is one direction from the White House. In the opposite direction about eight or nine blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue is the U.S. attorney's office, which prosecutes cases in the District of Columbia.
My assumption, since this is rather routine, is that they have begun charging the case, filling out the papers, trying to figure out what charges to preliminarily lodge against him, so that he can be detained and so they can investigate.
The potential charges are: assault with intent to kill, which carries life here in District of Columbia; there's also perhaps a sort of gun charges. There are very strict gun laws in the District of Columbia.
But what they want to do is lodge some preliminary charges against him, so that a lawyer is appointed to represent him, and so that decision can be made whether or not to release him when he is healthy to be released.
In the meantime, he's at George Washington Hospital, which has not typically had a jail facility within the hospital. It would not surprise me that once he's stabilized, if he were not transferred to D.C. General Hospital, which is where we call the "hospital cases," where people can be detained pending trial.
But once the charges are lodged against him, once he has a lawyer, there will be a bond argument. The United States attorney office will undoubtedly argue that he be detained, that he not released, that he's perhaps a danger to the community. Certainly if he shot at someone, that would indicate that. We don't know his mental status. But that they would seek to detain him while they investigate the case.
The case would then be sent down for what's called a preliminary hearing, where both sides get to present evidence if they wish. The prosecution, having the burden to show that there has -- that there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, and that this man is the likely person who committed it. Then he'll be sent to the grand jury. And if a grand jury elects to indict, the case will be indicted and reset down for trial. That's way down the road, though. But, right now, United States attorney's office, no doubt, is beginning to do what we call "paper the case."
HARRIS: Yes, add volume.
Before we go on, I want to mention here that we have just learned that George Washington University Hospital is going to have a news conference after all. They will have a news conference. We expect that to be some time within the hour. And we'll, of course, go to that live once it does begins.
But, Greta, the charges that you mentioned, or the possible charges to be filed against this suspect here, would these be the same exact charges that would be filed against him if he were to shoot a gun, say, in the street in New York, any other town, or are they special because they happen to be around the White House?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there may be a particular charge if they think it was directed at the president of the United States. But what the prosecutors are concerned with at this point is finding a means to legally detain him. And so they tend to do what we call "overpaper" the case: put down as many charges as they think that will stick at this particular stage.
It's also possible that they charge him with, for instance, assault with intent to kill or a gun charge. And, ultimately, if it goes to a grand jury, those aren't even the charges he's indicted for.
The whole point at this point is to give some preliminary charges so that he gets a lawyer appointed and so that a decision can be made by an independent magistrate or a judge as to whether or not he should be detained pending the outcome of any legal actions.
So the prosecutor's office will -- that's their goal is to detain him because they -- and the public defender -- I assume that the man will get a public defender. If he can't afford a lawyer, a public defender will be appointed to represent him. But the public defender's goal at this particular time would be to get him out of jail. But, frankly, you know, I've been around the block a long time the District of Columbia and the court system, and when you do something as serious as this it's unlikely that you're going to be released pending trial.
VAN SUSTEREN: But this is all done -- you know, this is very preliminary and everyone is obviously in heighten alert and trying to figure out how to have the wheels of justice go smoothly.
HARRIS: Yes, it's pretty clear this guy won't see the mall anytime soon.
But what about the idea of him committing suicide here? If that is true, does that complicate things at all, particularly if he communicated to the police there during this incident that that's what he was trying to do, so he was not necessarily trying to injure or hurt anyone else?
VAN SUSTEREN: That may have an impact on how the defense lawyer goes about his or her business. But this is really right now in the hands of the prosecutor, and the prosecutor isn't particularly interested in whether this man was trying to commit suicide or not. What the prosecutor is concerned with is how to protect the community and almost stabilize the situation, keep him in custody legally, not illegally; but keep him in custody legally so we can figure out -- or so he or she can figure out what best to do with this man.
His mental status, whether or not he wanted to commit suicide or not, will be something that the public defender will have to deal with, or a retained lawyer if he hires a lawyer, determine whether or not he had the -- supposing he's charged with assault with intent to kill, if he's trying to kill himself, that's a charge that wouldn't necessarily stick because you can't be charged for trying to kill yourself.
But let's say that he was not trying to kill himself but, hypothetically, was trying to kill somebody else. And then the question of committing suicide may go to his mental status. But that's, you know, way down the road.
HARRIS: Yes, got you. All right, good deal. Thanks much, Greta Van Susteren, sitting there in our Washington bureau. Thanks much -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Very good. Well, let's take it from Greta and go back to the White House. John King standing by with more information -- John.
KING: Well, Daryn, we want to tell you the Secret Service -- one thing they're stressing as we see all these pictures of all this activity, one thing they're stressing, obviously, they say the president was never in any danger. They also say that this may look quite hairy, but that the operation, in their view, worked quite successful.
They're crediting several civilians for bringing it to the attention of the Secret Service, that a man was brandishing a gun near the White House -- not on the White House grounds, but near the White House, just outside the southwest gate of the White House.
Again, as we've reported, they say this was a 47-year-old white male, now at George Washington University Hospital. They say the key point here was that he was brandishing a weapon and that when the police responded after being told by the citizens that he was out there, the police responded and asked the man to stand down, asked the man to drop his weapon and turn himself in. At that point, they say he brandished the weapon in the direction of several law enforcement officers. And at that point he was shot in the leg.
And, again, the Secret Service says its best information at this hour is that he was shot once and that was the only one shot fired. And he was shot in the leg. They say they are aware that some of the witnesses out there have said they might have heard two or three gunshots and that they are looking into that. They don't rule it out, but they say right now their information is that the man brandished the weapon in the direction of the officers. One of the officers reports hearing something to the effect of that the man was threatening to kill himself.
The man, in any event, we're told, has a single gunshot wound to the leg. We'll get more details from the hospital, of course. And the Secret Service saying that the situation here at the White House is now secure. And White House officials telling us President Bush was in the residence the entire time, was made aware immediately there was a security issue near the White House campus, but that at no point did they consider the president to have been in danger.
And they say they have no information indicating that the man had any intent to try to access the White House grounds. They say he did not rush the gate, for example, nor was he in a tour line trying to get into the White House. But he was spotted by citizens just outside the White House complex, and it was at that point the Secret Service responded.
KAGAN: And, John, as you told us earlier, you know, you mentioned the president, that he was in the residence, he was scheduled to be in the residence and that's just where he stayed? Nothing special happened for him?
KING: He is scheduled to be in the residence. I wouldn't say nothing special happened for him. There are procedures the Secret Service takes when there is a threat or a perceived threat, even if it had nothing to do with the president itself. If there was a shooting out in the parks across the street on either side of the White House, obviously there are procedures they take. And we know a lot more about those procedures than we...
KING: ... prepared to discuss on the air. We don't want to encourage other people to do anything like this. But there are procedures the Secret Service takes whenever there is a potential threat to the president, so it's hard -- it would be wrong to say that there was no action taken. But the Secret Service and White House officials saying at no point was the president considered to be in any danger at all.
KAGAN: Very good. And just to review when we expect to be getting this additional information, Secret Service planning on holding their own news conference? Have you heard about that?
KING: We don't know -- I don't know that they're having a news conference. They might well be. I've been in touch with several Secret Service sources throughout the hour or so. And one of the things that you've seen in the pictures, we've seen the yellow tape...
KING: ... cordoning off the area where this occurred, you've seen officers out there waving metal detectors at the ground trying to find the shell casings of the single bullet they say they're certain was fired. And one of the ways to determine whether or not any additional gun shots were fired is, of course, to look in the area for any casings from the guns. They also will analyze all the guns, all the officers -- any officer who says he discharged his gun. And of course the gun taken from the suspect after he was shot will be analyzed as well to see if any gunshots were fired from that weapon.
The Secret Service information that we have been told by several very reliable Secret Service sources as their best information now is that only a single shot was fired. But they also cautious us that as they get more information from the officers out there in the field, this could change just a little bit.
KAGAN: Yes, John, we're getting some information now that the Park Service plans to hold their own news conference to talk about it. And you had mentioned this some time ago, almost an hour ago when were talking, how the Park Service and the Secret Service are both working in that part of the White House grounds where this incident took place.
KING: One of the complicated law enforcement issues when it comes to the District of Columbia is jurisdiction. The White House grounds -- or the security for the White House grounds is a Secret Service prerogative. The Ellipse where you saw Eileen O'Connor interviewing those witnesses, that comes under the National Park Service. That would be the Park Police. If you go just a few blocks in either direction, you would then be in the District of Columbia, the city police department.
Obviously these law enforcement agencies, as they overlap around the White House -- remember the Capitol shooting a couple years back we had very similar issues there. You have several overlapping jurisdictions of law enforcement. Of course, the Secret Service takes precedence on the White House grounds, but they cooperate very closely with the Park Police, as well as with the District of Columbia Police because of the intersection between White House property, other federal property like the Ellipse. That's where the Washington Monument is. It's a key tour guide -- or there's a White House tour center over there on that property that the Park Police takes care of, and, again, the District of Columbia Police, which is responsible for the city as a whole.
KAGAN: OK, once again, we are standing by for that Park Service news conference to start. When it does, we'll show our viewers live here on CNN. And then at the bottom of the hour, the White House press briefing, that would be happening at 1:30 anyway, as I understand it. Or is that a little bit later when it would normally happen?
KING: Well, it is the daily White House briefing. When you have a breaking news situation like this, it would not at all be unusual for that to be delayed a little bit as the White House spokesman tries to get information. He'll try to get a little tick-tock information of exactly where the president was and was he talking to anybody when he was told about this alert? He'll, as well, get a tick-tock from the Secret Service to the best of their information as to what happened out there.
Again, we know the -- we are told by Secret Service sources it was at 11:36 in which the encounter took place. We've seen from some of our own videotape some of the activity out there actually started a little bit before that. But, again, Secret Service sources telling us it was at 11:36 in which they confronted this man. And we believe that's about when the actual shooting took place, the man being shot in the leg by a Secret Service officer.
So the briefing could be delayed as everyone tries to collect this information. And as we've seen throughout the past hour or so, occasionally there are conflicting reports. It doesn't mean anybody's not telling us the best information they have at that time, but there are echoes when gunshots are fired. That could be the explanation for why people heard two or three gunshots, or the Secret Service says it's possible another officer dislodged a weapon, but that their best information right now is that a single shot was fired and that the gunman was down with a wound to the leg. And that, of course, why he was taken to G.W. Hospital.
KAGAN: And as we've been reporting, it appears so far that everything worked as it was supposed to.
John King at the White House, thank you very much. We'll be back to you in just a bit -- Leon.
HARRIS: Yes, everything is -- actually, let's go check and see what our Eileen O'Connor has been able to find out. She's on the phone right now.
Eileen, what have you learned?
O'CONNOR: Well, basically we're being briefed right now by a member of the U.S. Park Police. His name is Rob MacLean. And he said that about 11:22 in the morning, the U.S. Park Police received a phone call that there was a disturbance and they immediately dispatched personnel on the scene. They started talking to the subject. They said it was a white male in his 40s. And after talking to him, shots were fired and the subject was hit in leg. They're not actually even sure if it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As to the eyewitness accounts that you've heard earlier that the man was in fact firing at random towards the White House, the police say that they cannot confirm that thus far. They say that they took the man to George Washington University Hospital, where he is being treated right now for nonlife-threatening injuries.
Now, this press conference is still going on.
HARRIS: Eileen, sorry to interrupt you, but we understand the Park Service briefing is under way right now. Is there any way you can get the phone close to the briefing so that we can actually hear what they are saying right now?
O'CONNOR: Yes, I am going to try to. But I don't know if you are going to be able to hear it. Hold on.
Are you able to hear that?
HARRIS: Barely, as the nature of cell phones with digital service like that. We can hear something when gets loud enough, but nothing when there is nothing there. How about trying it once again, Eileen, to see if you can get a little closer?
O'CONNOR: OK. Thanks.
ROB MACLEAN, PARK POLICE SPOKESMAN: Obviously, there are (OFF- MIKE)
QUESTION: Sir, did he make any demands? Did he say anything, this man?
MACLEAN: I don't have any information of anything the subject may have said.
MACLEAN: The information I have -- my timeline...
MACLEAN: And with all three of those agencies, as far as exact number
MACLEAN: He was sitting on the south side of the White House.
QUESTION: On the grounds? On the grounds?
MACLEAN: Right on the barrier.
QUESTION: At this point, you've only confiscated a single weapon from him?
MACLEAN: Yes, at this point, there is a confirmed handgun.
QUESTION: Could he see the White House from where he was standing?
MACLEAN: Yes, you can see the White House from the south side.
QUESTION: From where he was?
MACLEAN: I can't confirm.
MACLEAN: Yes, the information I have right now, it was one shot fired.
QUESTION: ... officers using these metal detectors inside the grounds of the White House. Is there a concern a shot was fired in that direction? Or what are they doing in there?
MACLEAN: That's the Uniformed Division Secret Service that run the magnetometers. I don't believe they were concerned whether it came from inside or outside. But there was a shot fired.
QUESTION: Are they looking for shell casings, presumably?
MACLEAN: Yes, they are. The Secret Service has metal detectors right now on the White House grounds looking for shell casings.
QUESTION: Based on all your interviews, the only -- there was only one shot fired this entire time between Park Police being alerted and the person being taken away in the ambulance.
MACLEAN: Yes, the information I have right now is that one single gunshot round was fired from a weapon. And, again, we don't know if that came from law enforcement or from the subject with the handgun.
QUESTION: Why did they engage him in conversation for 15 minutes instead of just taking the gun away or shooting him in the leg?
MACLEAN: Well obviously, the person is a threat to himself as well as all the law enforcement and the public. For an officer to rush in there prematurely is deadly for him as well as any public or the actual person with the gun.
Therefore, that is why we have hostage negotiators and crisis negotiators: to talk people out of doing something that may harm themselves harm or harm law enforcement or harm the public. (OFF-MIKE)
MACLEAN: There was an MPD officer that engaged the subject in conversation. Whether this MPD officer was a negotiator, I don't know. We are all negotiators when we try to deal with a situation like this.
MACLEAN: There was an ongoing dialogue to diffuse to the situation. Yes, there was.
QUESTION: You heard about this from a phone call that there was an incident.
MACLEAN: Yes, Uniformed Division Secret Service advised us that there was a subject with a handgun on the south side of the White House on the north side of East (OFF-MIKE)
QUESTION: ... Secret Service who saw it?
MACLEAN: A Uniformed Division Secret Service, yes.
HARRIS: All right, Eileen O'Connor there at that press briefing by the Park Service there. I'm sorry, we apologize to our audience about the bad audio we were having before. But were trying to get Eileen to use her cell phone to provide the audio there of the officer who has been giving us the briefing. The officer there, again, coming up with some different information from what we've been hearing from eyewitness accounts throughout the morning about the number of shots fired.
He did confirm that the suspect was shot in the leg. He did confirm that for us, and that this person was apprehended by the Secret Service there on the scene. Do we have Eileen available yet? Eileen is -- we have, again, the latest we have on this incident, folks, is that it happened at the southwest gate of the White House today.
A 47 -- a man who has been only identified only as a 47-year-old white male was seen with a gun at the southwest gate of the White House. And as we've heard from reporters throughout the morning and through the Park Police there, the man has been apprehended. There was at least one shot fired, we can say. He has been shot in the leg. We, at this point, don't know if it was a self-inflicted wound or whether or not the police fired -- or the Secret Service was responsible for that.
There is also talk that this man may have been trying to commit suicide and that the police, when they arrived there on the scene, and the Secret Service agents, when they did arrive on the scene, tried to talk the man out of doing anything, tried to talk him out of committing suicide and turn himself in. Upon the second request for him to turn in his gun or drop it, he did not do so. And that is when, we are told, he was shot in the leg. He is now at George Washington University Hospital.
We do expect to have a press conference there at the hospital fairly soon -- any minute now, we expect. And, of course, when that happens, we will take you there live. We'll looking there at the pictures we have of the man as he was carried into the hospital. And, again, we do not have any information about his name or where he is from or anything other than that. Our John King has been working on that angle from the White House.
But all he has been able to learn is that he is a 47-year-old white male. But apparently, there -- we are still waiting for the White House -- for the -- sorry -- the hospital press conference to get under way any moment. We are also expecting a press conference -- there you see the scene where that press conference is going to be taking -- they are setting it up, obviously. That is not anyone who's going to be doing the briefing. They are still trying to assemble all of that there in the room there at George Washington University Hospital.
So that will happen any minute now. We also expect, within the next 30 minutes or so, the daily press briefing from the White House. And we expect to get more information on that once that gets under way. And, of course, one thing we want to reiterate, that we have said again and again throughout the morning, that at no time at all was President Bush ever threatened by this incident. This man was apprehended hundreds of yards away from the White House.
And, as we understand, it's still not clear whether or not he was firing toward the White House or if any guns -- or any shells, rather -- or anything was ever able to penetrate the grounds there on the White House. And right now, officers are scouring the grounds with metal detectors, looking for the shell casings and trying to find out whether or not every did make it in. And they will have that information, hopefully, for us later on.
HARRIS: As a matter of fact, we are joined right now -- throughout this morning, he's been sitting here on the set with us silently -- has been Dwight Ellison, who is the director of security services here for us at Turner Broadcasting, and who was, at one point -- was it the Ford Administration you served. And the Bush administration, was it?
ELLISON: Carter and Reagan.
HARRIS: Carter and Reagan, I'm sorry. During the Carter and Reagan administrations, you served as a Secret Service agent.
Throughout the morning, everything you've heard so far sound according to Hoyle?
ELLISON: Very much so.
(CROSSTALK) ELLISON: I haven't heard any glitches at all. Everything was according to plan. I guess the public needs to know that agents, Uniformed Division officers, Park Police, anything having anything to do with White House security or protection of the president, trained repetitively for incidents such as this.
So, in so many ways, what you have seen and what you've heard in terms of the agents' responses, the uniformed officer response, the Park Police response is, in fact, routine.
HARRIS: All right, what about the routine regarding the collection of the evidence right now and the actual examination of the evidence. We also are being told that the agents themselves will be examined to see who fired their guns and whatever. Who handles all of that sort of information and is responsible for that? Is that the Secret Service? Is that the FBI? What?
ELLISON: The Secret Service, in this instance, since the Service was involved in the initial shooting, they would be responsible for protecting the crime scene. Once the crime scene is sufficiently protected, other investigative agencies would come in. And I'm not certain if that would be Park Police or that would be metropolitan police or if that would be the FBI. Once the agents have done their thing in protecting the crime scene, someone else comes in, takes over and the Secret Service backs off.
HARRIS: All right, and we will find out more, hopefully, within the next half-an-hour or so exactly how that -- where that investigation stands. Dwight Ellison, thanks for sticking by and being patient with us throughout the morning. We are probably going to use you some more. So don't go too far away.
I'm going to be stepping out now.
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