A woman driving a black Infiniti with Connecticut plates tried to ram the White House gates and then led police on a chase to the U.S. Capitol, where she hit, but did not breach, a security barrier. She was later identified as Miriam Carey, 34, a dental hygienist.
“There were multiple crime scenes as a result of the vehicle fleeing. There were multiple shots fired at several different locations,” said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan at a Thursday evening press conference. “This case is under investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The woman, who is African-American and was unarmed, reportedly had a history of mental health issues. Her identity has not been disclosed. She was shot after the car chase and pronounced dead.
“We don’t know which officers fired or how many rounds were fired,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
Police officers rescued her one-year-old daughter who was in the car. The child was not physically harmed and after being examined at a hospital was placed in protective custody.
According to Lanier, a 23-year veteran Capitol Police officer who was injured when his car hit a barrier and a Secret Service agent struck by the woman’s car, are both doing well.
The Capitol and Senate and House office buildings were on lockdown for about an hour and both houses of Congress went immediately into recess. Lawmakers and staff were instructed to “shelter in place.”
Ibrahim Banoura was visiting the Capitol when the incident began to unfold on Capitol Hill.
“I was in front of the Capitol at 2:19, I heard gunshots coming from behind me. I looked back and saw a black car speeding away from the police and was followed by about five police cars,” Banoura, who lives in Maryland, told BET.com. “After that I heard a boom, a kind of explosion, and I thought it was a crash. Police told us to immediately leave the area. Some people were lowering themselves on the ground. We were very scared.”