Investigators yesterday were still struggling to explain what compelled a woman from Connecticut to crash through barriers outside the White House and lead police on a car chase up Pennsylvania Avenue to the US Congress, before she was shot dead by pursuing officers.
The driver, identified as Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist living in Stamford, Connecticut, was said by her mother, Idella Carey, to have been suffering from post partum depression. Her child, who is now eighteen months old was in the back of the car, a black Infiniti saloon, during the shoot-out but was unharmed.
“A few months later she got sick,” the mother told ABC News, referring to the child’s birth. “She was depressed….she was hospitalised.”
The chase plunged Washington DC into chaos for a few hours on Thursday afternoon and came just two weeks after a mentally ill man opened fire at the Navy Yard complex killing 12 people before he also was shot dead by police officers. The authorities concluded it was not an act of terrorism.
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, whose officers have been working without pay as a result of the government shutdown which began at midnight on Monday, called it an “isolated, singular matter”. Yesterday investigators remained at the condominium complex close to downtown Stamford searching for clues in the apartment of 34-year-old Ms Carey.
Dramatic video footage taken outside the US Capitol building during the incident showed police on foot and in cruisers trying and at first failing to corner Ms Carey in her car. She sped away but was later shot dead a short distance from the complex where lawmakers and support staff had been told to stop work and stay away from windows. The toddler was taken into protective custody.
Family members of Ms Carey said they could not explain what she had been doing in Washington and expressed disbelief at the sequence of events. “That’s impossible. She works, she holds a job,” Amy Carey, her sister who lives in Brooklyn, told reporters when first contacted. “She wouldn’t be in D.C. She was just in Connecticut two days ago, I spoke to her. …I don’t know what’s happening.”