- - Friday, November 11, 2011

Authorities are investigating a report that gunshots were fired in the vicinity of the White House.

Sgt. David Schlosser of the U.S. Park Police said Friday evening that the agency received a report of shots fired near 16th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, between The White House and the Washington Monument, at about 9:30 p.m.

He said that shortly afterward, officers located an abandoned vehicle several blocks away on the ramp to the nearby Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.

He said police are looking at “involvement of this vehicle in the situation,” but didn’t know whether a weapon was recovered. He said police suspect another vehicle was involved.

Police were looking for bullet holes and had not confirmed that shots were actually fired. He said the White House is a fair distance away and doesn’t appear to have been the focus.

“At this point we don’t see that there’s any link to the White House, as far as this incident is concerned,” Sgt. Schlosser told reporters.

Still, shootings in the downtown area near federal government buildings and national monuments are rare. The police investigation closed Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th streets in Northwest.

Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said witnesses heard shots and saw two vehicles racing on Constitution Avenue toward 17th Street, and one of the vehicles was abandoned at 23rd and Constitution.

Witnesses saw the driver get out and run across the Roosevelt Bridge toward Arlington, Mr. Donovan said.

He confirmed an AK-47 assault rifle was recovered but said no one was in custody.

President Obama is not in Washington. Mr. Obama on Friday attended a college basketball game on the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego in honor of Veterans Day. The president attended the game before embarking on a nine-day trip to Hawaii and Asia to participate in international summits.



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