A woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police following a car chase across downtown Washington DC Thursday afternoon. The incident began when a driver, identified as Miriam Carey, 34, reportedly tried to breach a White House security barrier.
Witnesses reported that around 2:20 p.m. local time a woman, driving a black sedan with Connecticut license plates, drove past White House security. Police officers began banging on the car and ordered her to stop, and one officer placed a barrier, possibly a bike rack, in front of the vehicle. In scenes caught by the video from Alharra TV, the vehicle appears to back up into a police vehicle, turns and speeds away.
Police fired multiple shots at the vehicle and uniformed Secret Service officers pursued it. Caught on video, the black car is seen traveling at high speed through downtown Washington for about 12 blocks. A Capitol Police officer was reportedly injured when his car struck something during the chase and was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The chase ended near the US Capitol, when the car crashed and Capitol Police opened fire on the vehicle, killing the driver. Police fired all the shots and the woman was reportedly unarmed. Video shows a young child being taken from the scene, and the one-year-old is reportedly in protective custody.
A chaotic scene unfolded at the Capitol building, with police issuing a “shelter in place order” for offices on the US House side of the building. Police ordered everyone: “Close, lock, and stay away from external doors and windows.” The lockdown lasted for about half an hour.
Tourists and others could be seen running frantically and officers swarmed the area until it was closed off by police. Congress was in session in the third day of a government shutdown that has furloughed hundreds of thousands of federal employees, shuttered national parks and museums, and suspended vital social services.
Thursday afternoon’s events follow by less than three weeks a shooting incident at the Washington Navy Yard in which a mentally unstable civilian contractor killed 12 and wounded a number of others in a shooting rampage. Gunman Aaron Alexis was fatally shot after a gun battle lasting more than half an hour.
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told reporters that there was no indication Thursday’s incident was “related to terrorism,” and that it “appears to be an isolated incident with just one vehicle involved.” He confirmed reports that a child had been in the car. Police were reportedly dispatched to Stanford, Connecticut, to investigate the residence of the deceased victim.