By Scott McCabe
A police chase that began with a woman’s attempt to drive through a White House barricade ended with a fatal shooting near the U.S. Senate.
The driver, identified by lawmakers as a 34-year-old woman from Connecticut, led authorities on a terrifying pursuit with an 18-month old child inside her car. The woman was killed after police fired 17 shots at the runaway vehicle. Police have not released the name of the woman, but multiple sources have confirmed the identity as Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn.
The Washington Post reached the woman’s sister, Amy Carey, a nurse in Brooklyn. She couldn’t believe the news.
“That’s impossible. She works, she holds a job,” Carey told The Post. Amy Carey knew of nothing that would bring her sister to Washington. “She wouldn’t be in D.C. She was just in Connecticut two days ago, I spoke to her. . . . I don’t know what’s happening. I can’t answer any more.”
The incident happened in a city on edge, just weeks after a gunman shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard about two miles from the U.S. Capitol. Scenes of Thursday’s chaotic chase were captured by cameras, professional and amature, and quickly blasted over the Internet.
“It does not appear that this was an accident,” said D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier, whose department is investigation the shootings that took place at two scenes and involved officers from the Capitol Police and Secret Service departments. “We’re not ruling out anything.”
Around 2:15 p.m., witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots near the Hart Building of the U.S. Capital, near the intersection of Constitution and Maryland about a block from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Capitol Police sent a message to staffers ordering then to remain inside, close and lock their doors and stay away from external doors and windows.
According to a law enforcement source, the incident began when a black Infiniti bearing Connecticut tags struck a concrete barrier and a Secret Service uniformed officer the White House at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Police said the woman exchanged words with a police officer at a checkpoint to the White House.
The car fled east on Pennsylvania Avenue and uniformed Secret Service police pursued the vehicle toward the U.S. Capitol. The car rammed into a Capitol police vehicle, injuring the officer inside, and police opened fire at the black car. The woman was taken into custody, and police found a 1-year-old girl inside the vehicle. She was taken to a hospital. Police do not believed the woman had a weapon.
Television crews from Al Hurra television captured the chase and shooting outside the Capitol. The video showed the black sports sedan circling around the capital as police try to stop it. After the vehicle stops, officers approach with guns drawn, but the car takes off again, nearly hitting police. Gunfire punctuates the air.
A Capitol police officer, a 23-year veteran, was taken by helicopter to a hospital. He was conscious and breathing, Dine said. The lockdown was lifted about an hour later.
“We have no information that this was related to terrorism or anything other than an isolated incident,” said U.S. Capitol Police Kim Dine.
“Around the Capitol, the security worked extremely well,” Dine said. “We were able to lock things down and clear the event extremely quickly.”