LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — The woman killed by police after leading authorities on a chase that ended with gunfire on Capitol Hill had been suffering from mental illness according to her mother and reportedly believed she was being stalked by President Barack Obama.
Idella Carey said her daughter, 34-year-old Miriam Carey, was battling postpartum depression during an interview with ABC News.
Miriam Carey, who worked as a dental hygienist in Stamford, Conn., gave birth to her daughter, Erica, in August 2012.
“A few months later, she got sick,” her mother said. “She was depressed. … She was hospitalized.”
Law enforcement sources tell NBC News Miriam Carey believed she was being stalked by President Barack Obama.
Idella Carey says her daughter had “no history of violence” and she did not know why she was in Washington on Thursday. She said she thought Carey was taking Erica to a doctor’s appointment in Connecticut.
A motive for Thursday’s deadly chase was unclear. Authorities executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home in Stamford Thursday night.
The Carey family is expected to release a formal statement Friday.
Miriam Carey’s boss, Dr. Steven Oken, described Carey as a person who was “always happy.”
“I would never in a million years believe that she would do something like this,” he said. “It’s the furthest thing from anything I would think she would do, especially with her child in the car. I am floored that it would be her.”
Carey was fired from a similar job in April 2012 following a dispute with her bosses over the use of a handicapped parking space, CBS News correspondent John Miller reports.
Police said there appeared to be no direct link to terrorism and there was no indication the woman was even armed. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, whose officers have been working without pay as a result of the shutdown, called it an “isolated, singular matter.”
Still, tourists, congressional staff and even some senators watched anxiously as a caravan of law enforcement vehicles chased a black Infiniti with Connecticut license plates down Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol and as officers with high-powered firearms canvased the area. The House and Senate both abruptly suspended business, a lawmaker’s speech cut off in mid-sentence, as the Capitol Police broadcast a message over its emergency radio system telling people to stay in place and move away from the windows.
The woman’s car at one point had been surrounded by police cars and she managed to escape, careening around a traffic circle and past the north side of the Capitol. Video shot by a TV cameraman showed police pointing firearms at her car before she rammed a Secret Service vehicle and continued driving. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said police shot and killed her a block northeast of the historic building.
In Stamford, the FBI served a search warrant in connection with the investigation and police 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.
The chain-of-events began when the woman sped onto a driveway leading to the White House, over a set of 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.
“This wasn’t no accident. She was not a lost tourist,” Campbell said later near the scene that had been blocked off with police tape.
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.”
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.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said he did not think the woman was armed. “There was no return fire,” he said.
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.
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 shooting comes two weeks after a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead including the gunman.
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.
Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said a bill to pay them was under consideration.
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