Tension over the budget impasse abruptly turned to chaos on Capitol Hill Thursday, as a woman was shot and killed by police after a fierce car chase, with her 1-year-old child as a passenger.
But many questions were unanswered late Thursday, hours after the U.S. House gave Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers a standing ovation in the chamber when the episode was finished.
Multiple news accounts named the woman as Miriam Carey, a 34-year-old dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn., who reportedly worked in Connecticut prisons. Why the woman hit a White House security barrier with her car and fled afterward, precipitating the chase from the White House to the Capitol area, remained unclear. She did not have a gun, a law enforcement officer confirmed, and the exact details of her shooting were not being released.
One Capitol Police officer and one Secret Service officer were injured in the incident. The officer was hurt after his car hit a barricade in the pursuit, and the Secret Service officer was injured when struck by the woman’s car, police said. The child, a girl, was brought into the Capitol before being transferred to a hospital, an is in good condition in protective custody, authorities said during a Thursday night press conference.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier declined to comment on details of how and why the woman was shot. Lanier said the event was believed to be an isolated incident, but that it was no “accident.” She and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine declined to elaborate.
The chase began when the woman acted suspiciously and ignored law enforcement’s instructions, according to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer. She struck a White House security barrier and was chased by Secret Service agents until the pursuit ended on Connecticut Avenue just below Capitol Hill.
There were two episodes of gunfire along the path of the 12-block chase, both involving multiple shots, a law enforcement official said. All the shots were fired by police trying to stop her, the official said. “A car can be a deadly weapon,” one officer remarked.
At least one lawmaker said more details of the shooting should be released. “As a lawyer, if I were representing her family, [I would] call for a complete investigation,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. He added that he can only hope “the baby doesn’t have memories of this. I sure do hope that. No disrespect to the police involved. But boy, I tell you—I live in South Florida and those chases cause immeasurable damage.”
Many lawmakers were inside the House chamber when word of the shooting outside prompted a lockdown of the building. Uncertainty prevailed about what was going on; some lawmakers on the floor first learned of the shots from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who went member-to-member to let them know. House and Senate office buildings also went into a lock-down.
Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., had been on the balcony of the Speaker’s Lobby, talking with Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., about the government shutdown when he heard a commotion coming from the direction of the Rayburn building.
“It sounded like fireworks, a big fireworks display, and then we realized, that’s not fireworks,” Connolly said. “It sounded more like the first volley of a 21-gun salute — seven-seven-seven — because it was very close together, a loud burst.”
Connolly saw “armed police with their weapons drawn” running toward Rayburn, while people ran in the other direction toward the Capitol.
The Capitol Complex was in lockdown only briefly, and was reopened quickly. An armored vehicle sat on the plaza, but tourists with bikes were walking about as well. A Capitol Police car that had obviously been involved with a crash was at the corner of Constitution and First Streets NW and cordoned off.
The Capitol Police officer was taken by helicopter to the hospital, but “does not appear to have life-threatening injuries,” Gainer said.
“Thankfully,” Gainer also said, “it does not appear to be terrorism-related.”
What We're Following See More »
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.
According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.