WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secret Service agents protecting Hunter Biden’s daughter opened fire on a group of suspects early Sunday – and it’s not the first time that the elite agency has been involved in a law enforcement action in the vicinity.
The president’s 29-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Biden, lives with her husband in Georgetown, a historic waterfront stretch of D.C. packed with trendy bars and restaurants, scenic sidewalks and a handful of foreign embassies.
The incident comes amid a rash of car break-ins in the upscale community, according to neighbors. Signs posted around the tree-lined streets warn drivers not to leave any valuables in their vehicles.
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Just steps away from what neighbors identified as her home and the scene of Sunday’s shooting, an off-duty officer two years ago thwarted a robbery in progress and engaging in a shootout with the suspects, according to police.
“The officer intervened in an ongoing armed robbery where two suspects, one armed, approaches a vehicle occupied three times with three victims, demanding either the vehicle or cash or other belongings from these individuals,” DC Police Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict said at the time. “The officer engages the armed suspect – shots were fired.”
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The Secret Service assisted in arresting one of the suspects in that incident, Benedict said.
It was not immediately clear whether the Secret Service was present on behalf of Biden during that incident – uniformed division officers also patrol near the city’s foreign embassies and routinely come to the aid of city police when needed.
“While our primary focus is to ensure the highest levels of safety and security for our protectees and our protected sites, the Secret Service Uniformed Division also has an excellent working relationship with the DC Metropolitan Police Department,” said Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service’s chief of communications. “Our agencies work together every day in various operational capacities and the DC Police Department also supports our protective mission in many ways, and we are grateful for the hand in glove relationship.”
Washington, like many U.S. cities, is struggling to combat rising crime.
Another Georgetown shooting, this one in January 2022, left a 27-year-old man from Alexandria, Virginia, dead in the street, according to FOX 5 DC.
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Police statistics show increases in both the thefts of vehicles and of property inside vehicles this year. Even U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, fell victim when a group of masked men he described as “punks with guns” carjacked him near his Washington apartment building.
In Washington’s Second District, which includes Georgetown, more than a thousand additional property crimes have been reported year to date in 2023 compared to 2022. The area has seen 399 stolen vehicles, 1,207 thefts from inside vehicles and nearly 3,000 other types of theft.
“She can choose anywhere she wants to live, and we would just do our best to keep her safe – and our vehicles safe,” said Thom Bolsch, a former agent who now runs a range in Texas. “You’re running out of good, clean safe areas to live.”
Secret Service agents are bound by the same rules of engagement as other law enforcement officers, Bolsch told Fox News Digital.
“The only reason you’re allowed to discharge your weapon is your life, you feel your life is in danger, or someone else is in danger and you want to protect them,” he told Fox News Digital. “Maybe they can articulate that. If they just randomly shot at people running away from them, that’s not how it’s supposed to be done.”
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The security team would have had cameras and surveillance in place around the protectee’s residents and would be monitoring constantly.
If the agent who opened fire on the would-be thieves feared for his life, or the life of someone else, he would have been justified in the shooting. Authorities have revealed few details, although the Secret Service said in a statement there was no threat to its protectees.
City police said no one was hurt in the incident and three suspects fled in a red car.
Bolsch, who no longer lives in Washington, said Georgetown used to be considered very safe but that crime has been “creeping” into nicer neighborhoods in the wake of widespread anti-police protests demanding departments be defended around the country.
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“With defund the police, they don’t have enough officers,” Bolsch said. “Small, petty crimes are what they don’t have the ability to enforce, and then when you do arrest somebody they get out by the time you finish the paperwork.”
City police are conducting a routine investigation into law enforcement’s use of force in connection with the shooting near Biden’s home.