Miriam Carey, Of Stamford, Conn., Shot Dead After Capitol Hill Car Chase
WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) – A Connecticut woman driving a black Infiniti with her 1-year-old daughter in the car tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday, then led police on a chase that ended with her being shot to death, officials said.
Law enforcement officials have identified the suspect as Miriam Carey, 34, of Stamford. Shortly after the incident, federal and local police converged on her home at Woodside Green, a three-story condominium building. Police officers cordoned off the complex and the surrounding neighborhood. A bomb squad robot was called in as a precaution.
Carey, a dental hygienist, grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, friends told CBS 2.
Investigators were awaiting a warrant to search Carey’s Stamford home Thursday night in hopes of finding a motive. There was some indication Carey had mental health problems, WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell reported.
Authorities were expected to remain at the complex through the night, and residents were not expected to be allowed to return until at least early Friday morning, Carrasco reported.
“We are right now making this building safe,” Stamford Police Chief John Fontneau told reporters Thursday night. “At this point, we are awaiting a search warrant to go into an apartment. And until we get a search warrant and make that building safe, no one can go into the residence for the evening.”
Jennifer Ganino said she was glued to her TV watching the drama unfold during the day, only to learn when she arrived home that the suspect was her neighbor.
“I would not have thought in a million years that this would be going on right now,” Ganino told CBS 2′s Tracee Carrasco.
Carey’s friends in Bed-Stuy said they saw her there earlier this week.
“I don’t understand,” said friend Donald Knowles. “She was just here. … When I did see her, she was just hug, all smiles.”
Carey’s family gathered at a home in Bed-Stuy. They did not talk to reporters, but the family’s lawyer did speak.
“It’s like anyone else — how would you feel?” said attorney Eric Sanders. “You see these things happen to people, and you wonder how did this happen. It’s out of the ordinary. So of course they’re shocked.”
Tourists watched the shooting unfold on Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol as lawmakers inside debated how to end a government shutdown. Police quickly locked down the entire complex for about an hour, and both houses of Congress went into recess.
The White House was briefly placed on lockdown, and President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation, an official said.
CBS News’ Bob Orr reported the incident began at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. after the car apparently tried to ram the northeast gate of the White House. Carey then fled toward the Capitol, Orr reported.
Police said she drove up to a security checkpoint at the White House on Thursday afternoon, and there was a heated exchange.
Witnesses said at least 20 police cars chased the Infiniti toward Capitol Hill, where the car crashed outside the Capitol.
Video of the final few moments of the chase before officers opened fire shows the black sedan backing up and the accelerating haphazardly, CBS 2′s Dave Carlin reported.
Carey was shot by Secret Service, CBS News’ Bill Plante reported. The only shots fired were from the officers trying to
“I’m pretty confident this was not an accident,” said Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Authorities would not say whether the woman had been armed.
“We have no information that this is related to terrorism or is anything other than an isolated incident,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said in an afternoon press conference.
Dine said an officer took the toddler from the car to a hospital. She is in good condition under protective custody, officials said. The child’s relationship to the woman driving has not been established, Carlin reported.
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.
Immediately after the shooting Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) sheltered in his office two senators from Mexico who were outside during the incident.
“They said they heard a car careening, smashing into something and that the next thing they knew, they heard gunshots,” Menendez told Haskell.
New Jersey’s senior senator said he feared the worst when alarms went off inside the Capitol.
“Well, you know, after being in the Capitol on Sept. 11 and having lived through that, you have a rush of memories and thoughts about what’s happening,” said Menendez.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) was on the House floor with several other members when the lockdown went into effect.
“All of a sudden, they closed proceedings, and they told us that we were not allowed to leave the Capitol on the floor, either outside or via stairs,” Meng told WCBS 880 around 2:40 p.m. Thursday. “People who had heard something who happened to be outside said they heard three to four shots and they were all ushered back into the Capitol.”
Automatic text messages, phone calls and announcements went out to members of Congress around 2:20 p.m., said Meng.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal told WCBS 880 that he had just wrapped up a conversation with Sen. Charles Schumer when the lockdown was put in place.
“We’ve also been told that we cannot leave the Capitol complex of buildings, that we can move between them. There are underground subways and so forth, but we cannot leave the building,” Blumenthal said around 2:45 p.m.
“There was really worry and panic,” Schumer told CBS 2 on Thursday evening. “No one knew how many shooters, how many people were hurt. Obviously, it was frightening, and you think the worst.”
CBS News’ Nancy Cordes said she could see numerous Capitol police officers near a black vehicle at the corner of the nearby Hart Senate Office Building.
“The public address loudspeakers went off, along with these screeching-type alarms we have,” Rep. Peter King told 1010 WINS. ”It was an emergency, and they ordered a shelter in place, which means everyone had to stay in their office, away from the windows and doorways, saying shots were fired.”
The incident comes amid a partial shutdown of the government due to a fight over funding the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”
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.
U.S. Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown.
The shooting comes two weeks after Aaron Alexis, a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead, including the gunman. Alexis coincidentally also had family ties to Bed-Stuy.
Stay with CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story.
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