Questions over police shooting of unarmed woman near Capitol

Police surround car at end of chase that led to shooting death of woman. (AP)

Police surround car at end of chase that led to shooting death of woman. (AP)

Law enforcement authorities were investigating why a Connecticut woman tried to breach a barrier at the White House, setting off a high-speed car chase that put the Capitol 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 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.”

Still, 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 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.

Two law enforcement officials identified the female driver as 34-year-old Miriam Carey, of Stamford, Conn. 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.

In an interview with ABC News, Carey’s mother, Idella Carey, said her daughter had been suffering post-partum depression since having her daughter, Erica, last August.

“She was depressed,” Idella Carey said.

The mother said her daughter had “no history of violence” and she did not know why she was in Washington, D.C.

The FBI served a search warrant in connection with the investigation and police cordoned off a condominium building and the surrounding neighborhood in the shoreline city.

Condo resident Eric Bredow, a banker, said police told him the suspect in the car chase was one of his neighbors.

“I see the door to my building open and the FBI bomb squad in front of it,” said Bredow, who said helicopters were flying overhead when he first went home.

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, Ore.

“This wasn’t no accident. She was not a lost tourist,” Campbell said later near the scene that had been blocked off with police tape.

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.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, 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.

A few senators between the Capitol and their office buildings said they heard the shots.

“We heard three, four, five pops,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. Police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection, then hustled everyone into the Capitol.

Others witnessed the incident, too.

“There were multiple shots fired and the air was filled with gunpowder,” said Berin Szoka, whose office at a technology think tank overlooks the shooting scene.

The shooting comes two weeks after a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead including the gunman.

Before the disruption, lawmakers had been trying to find common ground to end a government shutdown. The House had just finished approving legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.

Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said a bill to pay them was under consideration.

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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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Copyright  © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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2 Responses to "Questions over police shooting of unarmed woman near Capitol"

  1. Keith  October 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

    This is yet MORE “Terrorist Industrial Complex” paranoia.

    These jack-booted goons have now turned the nation’s capital into a war zone, both within and outside the US Capitol building.

    I feel really sorry for those who have paid thousands of dollars to visit the buildings and monuments there that, at one time, represented a proud (and free) nation only to find them all locked and barricaded like some military base that stockpiles nuclear weapons.

    Clearly, just like the ancient ruins of Rome, I firmly believe that, someday, archaeologists will be digging up what remains of Washington, DC and wondering what the hell happened.

    But, this time around, all they’ll need to do is to ALSO dig up the millions of pages of US Congressional testimony (spelled “self-serving hot air”) that now passes for what some call “government” in the United States of America.

    As a US citizen by birth (and former US military officer) I’m sometimes ashamed to admit that I’m becoming ever more pleased that I decided (now over ten years ago) to marry a Canadian lady and emigrate to Canada.

    Indeed, this is a place where I can STILL walk into my Member of Canadian Parliament’s local office and have a face-to-face conversation with her WITHOUT also having to endure waling through a bevy of metal detectors or submitting myself to inhumane pat-downs (or cavity searches) by hired “security” goons.

    It’s a place where I can STILL walk down the streets of my medium-sized Canadian city (100,000) at night without having even the slightest fear of getting robbed, mugged, shot or murdered because I was caught in the crossfire of people toting one or more of the 300 million firearms now in private hands in the USA..

    It’s also a place where I can STILL walk to the local grocery store without having to lock my home up like a fort and know there’s a 99.9999% chance that everything in it will still be there when I come back.

    Canada is a place where I can STILL drive to work in the morning without also having a member of the local city or town police, county sheriff, park police, state highway patrol, state police (or all 7) hidden in the bushes pointing a stupid radar gun in my face, all in the name of “law enforcement”.

    Indeed, I also have absolutely NO worries that my cell phone conversation with my wife won’t be tapped by the NSA, CIA, DIA, (et al) and my mug shot placed on a stupid “no fly” list because my name just happens to (sorta) look like some so-called “terrorist” living in a tent somewhere.

    It’s also a place where the federal government assembled STILL knows how to balance its $300 Billion a year budget by either raising taxes or cutting spending by a simple majority in a single legislative body. And they DON’T force the rest of the government to come to a screeching halt if a majority of that body doesn’t happen to agree.

    Clearly, people who still live and work in the United States of America (barricaded as you now are in your homes behind steel bars, locked gates and high stone walls) probably haven’t noticed just how many of these simple freedoms you have now LONG since lost, all in the name of “security”.

    As your Benjamin Franklin was once purported to have written, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither”.

    Indeed, if there ever was a poster child for Ben’s idea it is the “police state” that our once proud (and free) United States of America has now become.

  2. Carl Nemo **==  October 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks Keith for your spot-on comparative analysis of two nations sharing a border, yet at opposite poles in terms of demonstrating true freedom and justice for all.

    My wife’s family, German immigrants live in Alberta and I must say everytime I cross into Canada I can feel the weight of sensed US based oppression lift from my conciousness.

    America has become an ugly and dangerous place to live. Our collective leadership is a pack of dangerous, elitist predators whose only interest is to maintain their incumbency and powerbase with “We the People’s” well being be damned.

    So too you enjoy one of the safest banking, brokerage and insurance environments compared to our now totally corrupt system offering the same services.

    Enjoy your freedom as you and other Canadians so richly deserve while you witness the unraveling of a failed experiment at empire. Compared to others in history, particularly Rome, we weren’t very good at maintaining such. In just 60 years post WWII greedy corporate interests, particularly the MIC enabled by fawning, paid off Congressional facilitators have trashed the United States of America.

    This recent government shutdown simply demonstrates that we’ve become just another broke/broken ‘banana republic’ with a failed leadership and services.

    Carl Nemo **==

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