The Secret Service typically goes to all measures to prevent gunfire near the White House — but that won’t be the case Saturday night.
Agents will be firing a variety of weapons near “the People’s House” to test a new security system they are implementing.
The Secret Service issued a statement Friday announcing the “live-fire calibration of a system that provides real-time detection and geolocation of gunshots fired within proximity of protected sites.”
The defense system, more commonly known as “shot spotter” technology, uses sound sensors on buildings to detect and triangulate gunshot activity. It’s already in use on some college campuses and in major cities, including Washington D.C.
A law enforcement official told CNN that the new shot spotter system is “another tool to enhance our protective operations.”
The test will take place Saturday and extended into early Sunday morning, an agency press release said. It takes place as the President and his family are at Camp David for the weekend.
The Secret Service, charged with protecting top administration officials, will conduct the tests near the White House and the Naval Observatory, where Vice President Mike Pence resides. There will also be several major road closures in DC near where the agents are conducting the tests. During the exercise, they will fire multiple rounds of ammunition into bullet traps, the release says.
About 80 shots will be fired from a variety of weapons, including rifles and several caliber handguns, a law-enforcement source told CNN.
The White House has in the past been the target of several attacks involving guns.
On the night of November 11, 2011, Oscar Ortega-Hernandez used an assault rifle to fire multiple shots at the White House from the window of his car, including some that hit the Executive Residence area where President Barack Obama and his family lived. One bullet hit a window and was stopped by bulletproof glass, and another was found on the White House exterior, the Secret Service said. Obama was not at the White House at the time.
Ortega-Hernandez later pleaded guilty to terrorism and weapons charges and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
In another incident in October 1994, a Colorado man, Francisco Martin Duran, fired at least 29 rounds from a semiautomatic rifle at the White House from the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue. No one was injured, and President Bill Clinton was “never in danger,” officials said. Duran was eventually convicted of attempted murder of the President.