Shots apparently were fired near the White House on Friday night, possibly in a confrontation between occupants of two vehicles on Constitution Avenue, according to the accounts of federal law enforcement officials.
After a broadcast alarm was issued about the incident, a vehicle was found abandoned in the District, near the Roosevelt Bridge a few blocks away, and a weapon believed to be an assault rifle, possibly an AK-47, was found inside, according to a Secret Service spokesman.
It also appeared that spent cartridges were found on Constitution, south of the White House, officials said.
The incident created a flurry of law enforcement activity, but a U.S. Park Police spokesman cast doubt on the possibility that the White House was a target.
“The reason why this is of interest is because of the location,” said Sgt. David Schlosser, the spokesman.
Shots fired for any reason are extremely rare in the area of the White House.
According to the Secret Service, members of the service’s uniformed division heard shots fired a few minutes after 9 p.m. on Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th streets. At the same time, the officers saw two vehicles heading west on the avenue, and issued a radio alert.
Shortly afterward, an abandoned vehicle was found on a grassy area near the approach to the bridge. A witness told police that someone ran from the vehicle toward the bridge.
As of late Friday no injuries had been reported, and there was no indication that anybody had been taken into custody. Part of Constitution was closed for a time.
President Obama and the first lady were not in the White House on Friday night, authorities said.
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Staff writer Jimm Phillips contributed to this report.