Emergency personal help an injured person after a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 3.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Police gather near the scene on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 3 after gunshots were heard.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
NEW YORK (AP) — Law enforcement authorities were investigating why a woman tried to breach a barrier at the White House, setting off a high-speed car chase that put the U.S. Capitol building on lockdown and ended with her being shot dead by police.
The harrowing chase Thursday unfolded between two national landmarks, briefly shuttered the chambers where federal lawmakers were debating how to end a government shutdown and stirred fresh panic in a city where a gunman two weeks ago killed 12 people.
Police said there appeared to be no direct link to terrorism and there was no indication that the woman was even armed. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, whose officers have been working without pay as a result of the shutdown, called it an "isolated, singular matter."
Two law enforcement officials identified the female driver as 34-year-old Miriam Carey, of Stamford, Connecticut. She was traveling with a 1-year-old girl who avoided serious injury and was in protective custody late Thursday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.
Carey's mother, Idella Carey, told ABC News Thursday night that her daughter began suffering from post-partum depression after giving birth to her daughter, Erica, last August.
"She had post-partum depression after having the baby" she said. She added, "A few months later, she got sick. She was depressed. ... She was hospitalized."
Idella Carey said her daughter had "no history of violence" and she didn't know why she was in Washington on Thursday. She said she thought Carey was taking Erica to a doctor's appointment in Connecticut.
ABC News reported that Miriam Carey was a dental hygienist. Her boss, Dr. Steven Oken, described Carey as a person who was "always happy."
"I would never in a million years believe that she would do something like this," he said.
Tourists, congressional staff and even some senators watched anxiously as a caravan of law enforcement vehicles chased a black Infiniti with Connecticut license plates down Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol and as officers with high-powered firearms canvased the area. The House of Representatives and Senate both abruptly suspended business, a lawmaker's speech cut off in mid-sentence, as the Capitol Police broadcast a message over its emergency radio system telling people to stay in place and move away from the windows.
The woman's car at one point had been surrounded by police cars and she managed to escape, careening around a traffic circle and past the north side of the Capitol. Video shot by a TV cameraman showed police pointing firearms at her car before she rammed a Secret Service vehicle and continued driving. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said police shot and killed her a block northeast of the historic building.
The FBI served a search warrant in connection with the investigation and police cordoned off a condominium building and the surrounding neighborhood in Stamford.
The chain-of-events began when the woman sped onto a driveway leading to the White House, over a set of barricades. When the driver couldn't get through a second barrier, she spun the car in the opposite direction, flipping a Secret Service officer over the hood of the car as she sped away, said B.J. Campbell, a tourist from Portland, Oregon.
Then the chase began.
"The car was trying to get away. But it was going over the median and over the curb," said Matthew Coursen, who was watching from a cab window when the Infiniti sped by him. "The car got boxed in and that's when I saw an officer of some kind draw his weapon and fire shots into the car."
One Secret Service member and a 23-year veteran of the Capitol Police were injured. Officials said they are in good condition and expected to recover.
Congressman Michael McCaul, who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said he did not think the woman was armed. "There was no return fire," he said.
Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper, Laurie Kellman, Adam Goldman, Mark Sherman, Philip Elliott, Jesse Holland, David Espo, Alan Fram, Brett Zongker, Donna Cassata and Henry C. Jackson in Washington, Michael Melia in Hartford, Conn., and John Christoffersen in Stamford, Conn., contributed to this report.
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