US Secret Service officers shot and killed a burglar caught smashing windows at the residence of the Peruvian ambassador to the US on Wednesday, authorities said.
The ambassador and his family were inside the property in the Forest Hills neighbourhood of north-west Washington, known as Embassy Row, when they heard the glass being broken shortly before 8am and called the Secret Service.
The agency is responsible for protecting foreign dignitaries and missions in the US, including embassies and diplomatic residences.
The uniformed Secret Service officers encountered a man, armed with a metal stake, in the rear garden of the residence and deployed a Taser in an effort to detain him, but “those weapons appear to not have any effect on the person”, Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee said at a news conference.
The officers then shot the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Mr Contee said. His identity has not been released.
In a tweet, the Peruvian Embassy said the ambassador, his family and the staff at the residence were safe and the matter was “being investigated by the competent authorities”.
The residence is one of the largest homes in Washington and is surrounded by thick trees. It is just outside of the 710-hectare Rock Creek Park that winds through the city.
Investigators are investigating why the man was at the ambassador’s home and why he was smashing the windows, Mr Contee said. Several windows and doors around the large property had been shattered, he said.
“We’re still in the very early stages of the investigation,” Mr Contee said. “We don’t know who this individual is; we don’t know why this person was on the ambassador’s residential property.”
Mr Contee said the man appeared to be in his late twenties, or thirties, and authorities have not yet determined whether he was carrying any type of identification.
Investigators have not yet identified a motive, but Mr Contee said it “appears to be isolated to this particular embassy residence”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report