Armed man shot by Secret Service agent outside White House, reports say

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The White House
The White House

The White House has been placed on security alert following reports of a shooting nearby.

The incident occurred on West Executive Drive in Washington DC shortly after 3pm local time (8pm Irish time).

It is understood that President Barack Obama was not in the White House at the time.

Officials told media that he was away at Andrews Air Force Base to play golf at the time.

A Secret Service agent shot an armed man at a security checkpoint, ABC News are reporting.

Witnesses have reported that the man fired his weapon and advanced upon the checkpoint, despite calls from a number of officers to drop his weapon.

When he continued to advance, the man was shot in the chest and disarmed.

He has since been taken to a nearby hospital where his injuries are reportedly critical condition.

The building was placed on lockdown while the incident was ongoing.

Reporters at the White House were kept in the press briefing room and were been allowed to go outside the West Wing to Pennsylvania Avenue.

It is understood that the lockdown has since been lifted but security remains on high alert.

"No one within or associated with the White House was injured, and everyone in the White House is safe and accounted for," a White House official said in an email. "The president has been made aware of the situation."