Police shot and killed an unarmed woman outside of the Capitol Thursday, after a 12-block car chase from the White House.
The shooting occurred in a city already on edge after the deadly shooting rampage at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard just a little more than two weeks ago.
The incident started when the driver, 34-year-old Miriam Carey of Stamford, Connecticut, tried to ram her car through a White House gate, authorities said. Secret Service agents fired shots–and the pursuit began down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Carey, a dental hygienist, was the mother of a one-year-old child. A young girl, believed to be Carey’s daughter, was taken from her car at the scene and is now in protective custody. The child was not injured.
Relatives later interviewed by authorities said that she had been suffering from post-partum depression, according to a senior law enforcement official.
The FBI searched a building believed to be Carey’s condo building in Stamford, NBC News reports.
Dramatic footage from earlier in the day shows a sporty black car driving erratically outside the Capitol. The driver didn’t stop when officers confronted her with guns drawn.
Washington Chief of Police Cathy Lanier said officers shot and killed the suspect, but did not confirm how many rounds were fired.
“This does not appear to be in any way an accident,” Lanier said at a press conference Thursday evening.
Officials said the driver struck two law enforcement cars during the incident. At least one Capitol Police officer was treated at a nearby hospital and released Thursday evening.
Witnesses heard between three and 15 shots and saw tourists fleeing.
Police and medical responders flooded the area near the Botanical Gardens soon after the shots were heard. A helicopter landed nearby and the officer was air lifted away to a local hospital.
Inside the Capitol, police raced to lock the door in the Speaker’s Lobby, where lawmakers gather to vote, and rushed members in from the balcony, where many were outside smoking and socializing when shot broke out.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, who was on the balcony talking to his colleagues, described a “burst” of gunfire from the House side of the Capitol, towards the House office buildings.
“It was like the first volley in a 21-gun salute,” Rep. Matthew Cartwright said, saying it sounded like a “large caliber” weapon. He described hearing about 7 or 8 shots.
From the Senate press gallery, the emergency radio feed crackled with warnings to stay inside. A feed on TV screens warned “SHELTER IN PLACE – GUNSHOTS” and informed all inside to avoid windows and locate emergency supplies.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said police first instructed him and his colleagues to take cover behind a car before they ran back indoors.
“The cops were rushing in doing their job and we were all running away.” “Pretty gutsy work,” he said of the Capitol Police.
“I don’t know if they were shots, they just sounded like pops,” Brown said.
Pennsylvania Avenue was reopened Thursday afternoon, but the White House was never put on lockdown. President Obama was briefed on the events.