A woman was shot and killed outside of the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday afternoon, the Capitol Police have confirmed. One police officer and one secret service officer were injured in a brief car chase on Constitution Ave, after the woman attempted to break through a security gate near the White House. She was later pronounced dead.
Multiple reports , citing authorities, have given an identity for the woman: Miriam Carey, a 34-year-old woman from Stamford, CT who worked as a dental hygienist. The car involved in the incident was registered to Carey — leading authorities to believe that Carey was behind the wheel at the time. According to the New York Times, authorities had trouble confirming her identity because of the extent of her injuries. None of those reports have been confirmed by named officials, and investigators have not released any information on the suspect. The Associated Press notes that authorities have searched at least one Stamford address connected to the investigation into the incident. In a news release Thursday night, Metropolitan Police said that "her identity is being withheld at this time, pending positive identification and notification of next of kin." Dennis Jones, a spokesperson for Carey's family, has told multiple news outlets that he'd issue a statement on their behalf later Thursday.
On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a child was in the car with the suspect. The child, about 1 year old, is in good condition and currently in protective custody. Two officers were injured in the chase, one from Capitol Police and one from the Secret Service. Both injured officers are doing well and expected to recover. The injured Capitol Police officer is a 23-year veteran of the force, and he's since been released from the hospital. Police are not answering any questions about the suspect at this time. The act is being investigated by the FBI, the Metropolitan Police, the Capitol Police, and the Secret Service.
Meanwhile, the following tweet provides a good reminder that, according to multiple reports, including that of U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, Carey herself did not fire a gun during the incident:
CORRECTION: Miriam Carey was not the shooter; she was killed while trying to drive through the Capitol barricade.— ABC7News (@ABC7News) October 4, 2013
Part of her chase was captured on video:
(Video: CNN, Via Slate)
The incident began when a woman in a black sedan rammed in security stanchion near the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. Eyewitness video showed uniformed Secret Service officers and Capitol Police confront the car and pull their weapons, before the car backed up, ran into a parked police car and sped off. Police pursued the car to the area around Constitution Ave. and First St., in front of the Capitol Building, where the sedan appeared to crash. Witnesses reported that the woman got out of the car and shots were fired. According to a Secret Service spokesperson, there were "multiple shots fired at several different locations."
At least two eyewitnesses, saw a child being removed from the suspect's car after the exchange of gunfire. The car is a black sedan, with Connecticut plates, based on images from the scene.
Police briefly issued a shelter in place order for Capitol Hill, which has since been lifted. NBC Washington reported that a woman was taken to the hospital, but it's not clear if she is the suspect. She has been pronounced dead, but it's not clear how long after the incident that happened.
According to Capitol Police, one officer was injured in the pursuit when he hit a barricade, but no officers were shot. According to some reports, no shots were fired from the suspect's car at all. Much of this information remains unconfirmed by Capitol Police, who are providing updates periodically. A police spokesman did say that they believe that this is an isolated incident, with nothing indicating a connection to terrorism.
There were many eyewitnesses to various portions of the incident — including numerous journalists, Congress members and staffers working on the government shutdown — meaning that there's an unconfirmed outline of the series of events emerging.
When shots rang out just after 2 p.m., people outside of the Supreme Court building were rushed inside, while some walking outside of the Capitol building, including Sen. Bob Casey, were told to crouch behind a car for about two minutes. They were then ushered inside the building. On MSNBC, Luke Russert said that he heard "three distinct booms" outside of a Capitol window. One witness told CNN that the the shots seemed to originate from behind the Supreme Court building on Constitution Ave. The suspect tried to ram through a White House gate (it was really more of a small barrier) about a dozen blocks from Capitol Hill, Capitol Police have confirmed. Then, the suspect headed to Capitol Hill, pursued by Secret Service, where she was then shot. Speaking to The Washington Post, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said that it looks like all of the shots fired may have come from Capitol Police officers.
Two witnesses who gave their account of the chase to the Post, who saw the suspect drive through a security checkpoint at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Then, B.J. Campbell, 69, and his wife Susan said, she stopped at a security barrier and was approached by officers:
“The Secret Service guy was just having a cow,” B.J. said. “Yelling at her and banging on the car.”
The officers tried to block the car with a black metal gate, but the suspect decided to break through that barrier with her car: “she just gunned it,” B.J. said. “She ran the barricade down and the guy; knocked him up onto her hood."
The map below shows the locations of the reported series of events:
The president has been briefed on the incident, according to the pool reports. Many observers were quick to point out that the Capitol Police officers responding to the incident were not furloughed by the government shutdown (they're essential employees), but they are not currently being paid, along with the rest of non-furloughed government staff.
Here are some images from eyewitnesses on the scene, starting with this incredible view of the Capitol after the incident:
There's little out there confirmed by officials, however Capitol Hill is brimming with reporters, staff, and members of Congress who have tweeted what they saw:
Literally was dragged in by cop as he heard shots fired come over the radio. Now this: pic.twitter.com/K1AJwIEV6G— KateNocera (@KateNocera) October 3, 2013
Helicopter outside the Capitol pic.twitter.com/B0zDujqWHQ— Lucia Graves (@lucia_graves) October 3, 2013
we are on lockdown in the speakers lobby and house floor. Gunshots maybe six outside says congressman bill posey who heard them.— Suzy Khimm (@SuzyKhimm) October 3, 2013
Cops were chasing a black car near the Capitol building. They cornered the car and that's when shots rang out.— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) October 3, 2013
Victim now on stretcher being moved to ambulance. Appears to be civilian in white shoes, jeans (?). pic.twitter.com/2WwEgHPwOV— Eric Teetsel (@EricTeetsel) October 3, 2013
Rep. Gerry Connolly says it sounded like fireworks, coming from direction of Rayburn Office Building— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) October 3, 2013
At least one police car was wrecked in relation to the incident. It appears that his car crashed when a mechanical barricade embedded in Constitution Ave rose up just as he was speeding over it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.