White House incident: Woman in custody after ramming car into security barrier

Patrick Grafton-Green, Meaghan Spencer, Alexandra Richards
A Secret Service officer checks a white passenger vehicle that struck a security barrier that guards the southwest entrance to the White House: AP

A woman has been taken into custody after ramming a car into a security barrier at the White House entrance.

The US Secret Service tweeted that she was "immediately apprehended" after the incident on Friday afternoon.

They wrote: "An individual driving a passenger vehicle struck a security barrier near the White House at 17th & E."

Witnesses described seeing a commotion on the grounds of Donald Trump's residence as security officers rushed to the scene.

Mr Trump was inside at the time hosting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Meanwhile pictures posted on social media showed empty roads around the White House as the whole area was placed on lockdown.

Other pictures have emerged of a white car with shattered windscreens being investigated by officials.

The Secret Service added that the vehicle did not breach the security barrier of the White House.

They said no officials were injured and no shots were fired.

Noah Bierman, a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, wrote earlier: "I’m locked in the White House press office. Secret Service has locked doors and appears to be looking into a security issue."

He added a few minutes later: "Secret Service is getting out some bigger guns. One guy had a helmet on."

He then posted: "I’m out. They opened press room with no immediate explanation."