Capitol Hill Shooting: Woman slain after car chase from White House to Capitol, officer injured during incident

10:57 PM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- A chase that began with a black luxury car ramming a security barricade near the White House on Thursday ended 16 blocks away on Capitol Hill with police killing the woman driver, authorities said.

The Nissan Infiniti was registered to Miriam Carey, 34, of Stamford, Conn., according to a federal law enforcement official who was not authorized to comment publicly. Investigators believe the driver was the registered owner, and authorities were running fingerprint analysis to confirm her identity.

A child about a year old who was in car was taken to a local hospital and is in good condition, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at an evening news briefing.

The incident caused a brief lockdown of the U.S. Capitol as Congress tried unsuccessfully to end the three-day government shutdown.

"This does not appear to be in any way an accident," Lanier said, noting that the woman twice tried to breach security barriers and struck a uniformed Secret Service officer near the White House.

The events began at 2:12 p.m. ET when the driver rammed a temporary barrier at 15th and E Streets NW, hitting the officer, said Secret Service chief Ed Donovan said. Other Secret Service officers chased the woman east on Pennsylvania Avenue but did not shoot.

Terrance Gainer, the Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Senate, said the driver then led federal authorities on a high-speed chase on Pennsylvania Avenue before stopping on Maryland Avenue NE at 2nd Street, near the Hart Senate Office Building, where the shooting occurred.

Gainer said the driver was shot as she got out of her vehicle.

PHOTOS: Shooting on Capitol Hill

Gainer said shots were fired at two locations but provided no details. But two federal officials told USA TODAY that all shots were fired by law enforcement officers. One official said no gun was recovered from the vehicle.

Gainer said "every indication" is that the confrontation was an isolated incident and not part of a larger threat. "The great news is it is not terrorism related," he told reporters huddled outside the U.S. Capitol.

One Capitol Police officer suffered non-life threatening injuries when his cruiser crashed during the pursuit. The 23-year year veteran is "going to be fine," Capitol Hill Police Chief Kim Dine said.

Gainer said the woman's vehicle could not have reached the Capitol itself because "there are barricades up all the time."

As the chase unfolded, members of Congress and staff were told by Capitol police to "immediately shelter in place." Less than an hour later, a TV screen in the Senate press gallery flashed an "all clear" message.

Security was heightened at the White House as a precaution and President Obama was briefed on the incident, according to White House officials.

Larry Murr, a former Louisville resident living in Jacksonville, Fla., was visiting the Capitol building when he heard the gunfire, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

"We were standing there, looking at the building, and all of a sudden we heard a pop-pop-pop-pop," he said, saying he thought he heard four to five shots fired in rapid succession.

In a notice distributed by email, the U.S. Capitol Police advised everyone to "close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows."

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was on the balcony off of the speaker's lobby when the gunshots erupted, tells reporters that they sounded like "fireworks."

Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), who was also on the balcony, said he heard "five or six" gunshots.

"Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom!" Posey told POLITICO. "Then sirens went off, cops started going everywhere yelling 'get inside, get inside!'"

People standing outside the Supreme Court across the street from Congress were hurried into the court building by authorities.

Contributing: Susan Davis; Mark Vanderhoff, the (Louisville) Courier-Journal

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