No nexus to terrorism, isolated incident, say officials
Press Trust of India
Washington, 4 October
A woman motorist, who tried to ram through security barricades near the White House and led authorities on an almost two-mile wild car chase, has been shot dead by police outside the US Capitol building, sparking a brief lockdown of the high-security complex.
The car was registered to Miriam Carey (34), a dental hygienist from Stamford, law enforcement officials said, adding they believed Carey was the driver.
Two police officers, including one from the Secret Service, were also injured in the process.
“The suspect in the vehicle, we do know, was struck by gunfire … the suspect has been pronounced (dead),” Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters.
She confirmed that a one-year-old baby was taken from the car and is now in good condition.
Officials said it appears that there was no nexus to terrorism, while another official described this as an isolated incident.
The chase began yesterday near a White House security checkpoint, where the woman struck a barrier and a Secret Service officer with her black Infiniti. The woman then sped away from that fortified icon and headed straight for another: the Capitol.
During the chase, police officers opened fire twice, both times in areas busy with tourists and office workers. The Capitol itself was locked down, as a bitter debate over the government shutdown was interrupted by echoes of shots, officers with guns and an urgent order to “shelter in place”.
Authorities said the woman was not armed, and although the incident was first reported as a shooting at the Capitol, the only shots were fired by officers.
Ed Donovan from the US Secret Service told reporters the incident is under investigation.
“An unauthorised vehicle attempted to gain access at a very outer perimeter check point,” he said.
“I want to stress that, this was an outer perimeter check point of the White House. Beyond that check point, there are multiple other check points that someone would have to go through.”
The House of Representatives and Senate were in session when the gunshots were heard, and politicians have told reporters they heard up to six shots.
The incident sparked a massive security response in the region, emergency vehicles converged on to the scene and security was heightened inside the Capitol, which was already tense during shutdown negotiations.