The Secret Service says a man shot himself outside the White House, and medical personnel are on the scene.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were in Florida at the time.
Standing along the north fence line, the Secret Service said he fired several rounds, none of which appeared to be directed toward the White House.
The Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department is taking the lead in the investigation, the Secret Service spokesperson said.
The statement comes two hours after the Secret Service tried to calm panicked reports of a shooter along the White House's north fence.
NBC News White House Correspondent Geoff Bennett was among a number of people working at the building in Washington to have taken shelter as the incident unfolded.
According to Secret Service spokeswoman, the male had a single gunshot wound and that Secret Service personnel didn't fire any shots.
White House reporters were put on lockdown in the press briefing room following reports of the shooting.
President Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., at the time of the incident.
Most recently, on February 23, a vehicle drove into a security barrier outside the building.
A White House spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation".