Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been caught up in a White House lockdown after a vehicle struck a nearby security barrier during a joint press conference with Donald Trump this morning.
- The Secret Service confirms a vehicle hit a barrier near the White House this morning
- Malcolm Turnbull, on site for a joint press conference with Donald Trump, was caught up in the subsequent lock down
- The Secret Service has taken the female driver into custody
The US Secret Service said the vehicle “did not breach the security barrier of the White House complex”.
The agency said the female driver of the vehicle was “immediately apprehended”.
A reporter for the local Fox channel affiliate tweeted that a witness had reported seeing officers pull a woman out of the vehicle’s window at gunpoint.
He posted a photograph of what he said was the white Chevrolet minivan that hit the barrier according to the witness.
A Secret Service officer rushes past reporters after a vehicle rammed a security barrier near the White House. (AP: Evan Vucci)
Another witness, Chris Bello, watched as officers rushed toward the vehicle.
“This minivan came and crashed into the barricade and tried to push through the barricade and his tires were burning rubber and a lot of smoke was coming up,” Mr Bello said.
“And then about 30 seconds after that the two security guards that were in the booth, you know, ordered him to stop doing what he was doing and he didn’t listen.”
Reuters video showed the minivan with an American flag emblem on the back. It had its rear window and a side window smashed.
The video showed a law enforcement officer checking the underside of the van with a mirror.
CNN, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, said the woman intentionally drove into the barricade.
She was known to the Secret Service, CNN reported, but the action of driving into the barricade was not directed at the president or anyone at the White House.
Mental health issues may have been a factor, CNN said, citing the sources.
Witnesses saw a commotion on the White House grounds as security officers responded.
Mr Turnbull left the White House after an initial delay as the incident was being investigated.
@SecretService: UPDATE: No law enforcement personnel were injured during the incident involving a vehicle hitting a barrier near the White House.
Streets for several blocks surrounding the White House were cordoned off, disrupting local traffic.
No shots were fired during the incident, and no law enforcement personnel were injured, the Secret Service said.