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Update: Woman shot, killed outside Capitol after police pursuit

October 3rd, 2013 10:19 pm by Associated Press

Update: Woman shot, killed outside Capitol after police pursuit

Police gather near the scene on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after gunshots were heard. Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building. (AP Photo/Alex Brando

WASHINGTON — A woman with a 1-year-old girl led Secret Service and police on a harrowing car chase from the White House past the Capitol Thursday, attempting to penetrate the security barriers at both national landmarks before she was shot to death, police said. The child was unhurt.

“I’m pretty confident this was not an accident,” said Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Still, Capitol Police said there appeared to be no terrorist link. The woman apparently was unarmed.

Tourists, congressional staff and even some senators watched as a caravan of law enforcement vehicles chased a black Infiniti with Connecticut license plates down Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol. House and Senate lawmakers, inside debating how to end a government shutdown, briefly shuttered their chambers as Capitol Police shut down the building.

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 camerman showed police pointing firearms at her car before she rammed a Secret Service vehicle and continued driving. Lanier said police shot and killed her a block northeast of the historic building.

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.

“This appears to be an isolated, singular matter, with, at this point, no nexus to terrorism,” said Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine.

Law-enforcement authorities identified the woman 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 was executing a search warrant at a Stamford address in connection with the investigation. Police officers had cordoned off a condominium building and the surrounding neighborhood in the shoreline city.

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.”

Police shot and killed the driver just outside the Hart Senate Office Building, where many senators have their offices. Dine said an officer took the child from the car to a hospital. She was not injured and was placed in protective custody, Capitol Police said.

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.


Previous story  (6:10 p.m. update)

WASHINGTON — A woman driving a black Infiniti with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday, then led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her, witnesses and officials said.

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 temporarily, and both houses of Congress went into recess.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said the woman was killed. Asked if she was armed, he replied: “I don’t think she was. There was no return fire.” 

Police described it as an isolated event and saw no indications of terrorism.

The pursuit began when a car with Connecticut plates sped onto the driveway leading to the White House, over a set of lowered barricades. When she 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 visiting tourist from Portland, Ore.

A fleet of police and Secret Service cars chased the Infiniti toward Capitol Hill. An amateur video shows the car circling a fountain in front of the Capitol. The driver slows down as police approach, and then speeds away.

“The car was trying to get away. But it was going over the median and over the curb,” said Matthew Coursen, who was on his way to a legislative office building 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.” 

Coursen watched the shooting from his cab window.

“I thought to myself, ‘The car is getting blocked in. The car is going to surrender,’ ” he said. “Now the cop has his weapon out. The car kept trying to get away. Then he fired shots.” 

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said a child was taken from the car to a hospital but said he knew of no harm to the youngster. Tourist Edmund Ofori-Attah said the child appeared to be about 2 to 3 years old.

A police officer was injured in the traffic accident but Gainer said the injuries were not life threatening.

“We heard three, four, five pops,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who was walking from the Capitol to an office building across the street. Police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection, then hustled everyone into the Capitol.

“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.

U.S. Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown.

Previous story (3:18 p.m.)

WASHINGTON — A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown.

The shooting unfolded after police chased a black car up Constitution Avenue toward the Capitol, said tourist Edmund Ofori-Attah, who walked toward the scene as the car stopped.

"Then I heard the gunfire" and hit the ground, he said.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., told reporters he was walking from the Capitol to the Senate Russell Office Building across the street when he noticed several police officers driving fast up Constitution Avenue on motorcycles.

"Within seconds of that," Casey said, "we heard three, four, five pops," which he assumed were gunshots. He said police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection.

In about two minutes, he said, the officers moved everyone into the Capitol.

FBI agents rushed to the scene and Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said: "There are reports of injuries."

After nearly an hour, police ended the lockdown.

The shooting comes two weeks after a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead including the gunman.

As a warning was sounded, the House abruptly went into recess and lawmakers left the chamber floor. The Senate also suspended business.

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.

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

The White House also was briefly locked down after the incident at Capitol Hill and the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the compound was closed to pedestrians. Secret Service said the procedures were precautionary.

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Previous story:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building.

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

In a notice distributed by email, the U.S. Capitol Police advised everyone to "close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows.The notice said gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill. There are unconfirmed reports of an officer injured.

Check back with Timenews.net for details as they develop.

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