Secret Service officers shot a male suspect near a security checkpoint near the White House after he apparently brandished a weapon, a law enforcement source said.
The suspect was shot in the abdomen and taken into custody, according to two sources familiar with the incident.
President Barack Obama was not at the White House, and Vice President Joe Biden was secured in the White House complex during the incident.
An earlier report said the suspect had opened fire on the White House complex, but it was not immediately clear what happened.
The city's EMS said a patient identified as the suspect has been transported to a local hospital with critical injuries.
The U.S. Park Police said Friday a shooting had occurred in close vicinity to the White House.
"Shooting on W. Executive Dr. PIO en route to 17th and Pennsylvania," the law enforcement agency tweeted.
Earlier in the afternoon, Secret Service officers cleared the White House North Lawn, Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Park in an ongoing security incident. Officers drew guns and ordered reporters to move inside.