Video: Driver shot dead in car chase near US Capitol
Woman rams security barricades at perimeter of White House with her daughter in car
The incident rattled Washington less than three weeks after a government contractor opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, about 2.4km from the Capitol, killing 12 people and wounding three others before he was shot to death by police.
The car involved in the chase was registered to Miriam Carey (34), of Connecticut, and law enforcement officials believe she was the driver, the Washington Post reported, citing officials. NBC News also identified the driver as Carey. She had her one-year-old daughter in the car with her.
Reached by phone at Washington’s Metropolitan Police headquarters, a police officer confirmed that Carey was the driver, but declined to provide his name.
“The suspect in the vehicle was struck by gunfire,” Washington’s police chief, Cathy Lanier, told reporters.
Driving a black car, the woman rammed security barricades “at the very outer perimeter of the White House,” US Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. Then the car raced up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol where Congress was in session.
Police chased and fired at the car. It came to a halt near the Capitol building, said Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine.
“My understanding is there was a one-year-old child in the car,” Mr Dine said. “I believe one of our officers rescued the child,” who was taken to a hospital.
It appeared there was no connection to terrorism, Mr Dine said.
Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that officials believed the woman driving the car may have had mental health problems.
“I got that from multiple sources - that they think she may have had some mental health issues,” he said. “Obviously the way she responded at the gate near the White House and then turning around and hitting Secret Service.”
Hours after the woman’s fatal encounter with officers, the FBI and other agencies were conducting a search of the sprawling condo complex in Stamford, Connecticut, where neighbours say she lived. Dozens of neighbors were forced to wait outside.
They drank coffee and some talked on cell phones trying to arrange to stay with friends and relatives.
When the shooting began outside the Capitol building, politicians were trying to find a solution to a budget impasse that partially shut down the US government this week. The Capitol was locked down for about an hour during the incident.