Video courtesy of WUSA9 via Alhurra
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A woman is dead after D.C. police say she drove her unauthorized vehicle to a White House checkpoint, hit a Secret Service agent while fleeing the scene and then led officers on a high-speed chase to the U.S. Capitol, causing chaos in the District shortly after 2:15 p.m. Thursday.
The pursuit began when the car sped onto a driveway leading to the White House, over a set of lowered 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.
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.”
The chase continued on Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue and ended near the intersection of Maryland Avenue and 2nd Street NE, according to Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine.
The Capitol building was placed on lock-down and Capitol Police issued a shelter-in-place order following reports of shots fired near the building.
Police shot and killed the driver just outside the Hart Senate Office Building, where many senators have their offices.
Chief Dine said an officer took a 1-year-old girl from the car to a hospital. She is in good condition under protective custody, officials said.
Law-enforcement authorities identified the driver of the car as Miriam Carey, 34, of Stamford, Conn. The authorities spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge the information publicly.
Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia said the FBI executed a search warrant at a Stamford address in connection with the investigation Thursday night. Police officers had 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.
Carey was sued by her condo association in December, but they settled in February. The condo complaint against Carey was unavailable online, and there were no pending criminal cases or convictions associated with her name, court records show.
There was a huge police presence at the Capitol throughout the afternoon Thursday.
“We don’t know which officers fired or how many rounds were fired,” Chief Lanier said at a 6 p.m. press conference. “I will say that both at the White House and at the Capitol, the security perimeters worked. They did exactly what they were supposed to do, and they stopped a suspect from breaching the security perimeters … in a vehicle at both locations.”
A 23-year Capitol Police veteran was injured when his car struck a barricade. He was treated and released from Washington Hospital Center. A Secret Service agent was also injured. He is expected to be OK, Lanier said.
Lanier noted that the incident does not appear to have been accidental. Chief Dine says it does not appear to be terrorism-related, either.
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 building.
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 events are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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CBS News reports that some officers and agents who responded to the scene are not being paid because of the government shutdown and that there has been an uptick in threats against lawmakers due to the shutdown.
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.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Above is the rough path of the car chase, as described by Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine
WNEW’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter.
(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)