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Conflict & Tragedy

Car chase ends with multiple shots fired near Capitol Hill, female suspect killed

Shots were fired near the Hart Senate building Thursday on Capitol Hill between First Street and Constitution Avenue not far from the White House, according to multiple reports, including CNN and Roll Call.

Police immediately sent out a “shelter in place” order, which caused CNN correspondent Dana Bash to be locked in the reception area of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office as she was preparing for a one-on-one interview.

As Bash was doing a CNN live interview on the situation, she said Reid leaned through the door to say one person was injured.

CNN reporter Athena Jones gave a live interview by phone saying she heard multiple shots and saw people running and a dozen police cars approaching with sirens and lights flashing.

Capitol Hill police released the following statement:

SHELTER IN PLACE. Gunshots have been reported on Capitol Hill requiring staff in all Senate Office Buildings to immediately shelter in place. Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows. Take annunciators, emergency supply kits and escape hoods; and move to your office’s assigned shelter in place location or the innermost part of the office away from external doors or windows. If you are not near your office, go to the office nearest to you and shelter with that office and then check in with your OEC. No one will be permitted to enter or exit the building until directed by USCP. Staff is advised to monitor the situation. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

The US Supreme Court building was also locked down.

Frustrations have run high as the government entered the third day of a shutdown that caused furloughs for approximately 800,000 federal employees as the president, Democrats and Republicans wrestle with a way forward to reopen the government.

Intelligence sources told Bash that police were chasing a car that started from an incident that happened near the White House and moved toward Capitol Hill. Sources said the woman driving was confronted at a checkpoint by Secret Service officers at 2:18 p.m., when an argument ensued and she fled.

Authorization to use force was received by police, although they didn't know a young child was in the car at the time.

Video shows the woman in a black sedan being confronted by police and surrounded by officers with guns drawn. Instead of surrendering, the woman backed into a patrol car and sped off as officers shot at the back of the car. A chase ensued as police followed the sedan at high speed in the direction of the Capitol Hill. Witnesses said the car ran several red lights and appeared to be going around 80mph at some points.

Police said there was one incident before this video and one after it at Capitol Hill. so it doesn't encapsulate the entire ordeal.

An officer was injured during the chase as his car reportedly ran into a barricade. He had to be removed from the badly damaged patrol car with the jaws of life and was airlifted to a local hospital. Reportedly, another officer was hit by the suspect's car at some point in the chase, but was only slightly injured.

Police removed the child from the car and the woman was injured during the gunfire. She was apparently shot several times as police fired into the drivers side of the car. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounded dead on arrival.

The president was informed of the incident right away, but it didn't appear he was in danger at any time.

The lockdown was lifted about 30 minutes after the incident began and once the driver was taken away and later pronounced dead.

Witnesses said the whole incident lasted less than five minutes. All shots fired were reportedly from officers.

The woman's car had Connecticut license plates and an FBI task force searched her home trying to determine what possible motivation there might be for her erratic behavior.

Capitol Hill photographs of the incident can be seen here.

Updated at 6:15p.m. EST. News conference with Chief Kim Dine, Ed Donavan Secret Service and Metro police Chief Cathy Lanier. They said the suspect was pronounced dead shortly after the incident. There was one officer slightly injured and one that was airlifted to the hospital that is doing well and expected to be fine. They are processing three crime scenes after the suspect tried to breach two security perimeters, with shots fired at two, including where the suspect’s car was finally stopped at 2nd and Maryland near Capitol Hill.

They agreed there wasn't anything at that point to indicate it was more than just a bizarre isolated incident and not related to terrorism.

Mike McCaul, Chairman of Homeland Security told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer the suspect was a 34 year old of African American descent with possible mental problems. Her 18-month-old daughter was taken to Child Protective Services pending an investigation. Other mainstream news reports identified the Connecticut woman as Mariam Carey, a dental hygienist.

Carey's mother said she suffered from post-partum depression, but had never been violent.