A Connecticut woman who police say led officers on a car chase through Washington before being shot to death was delusional and thought President Barack Obama was electronically monitoring her, ABC News reported.
The black Infiniti sedan involved in the Oct. 3 incident is registered to Miriam Carey of Stamford, Connecticut, said a law enforcement official who asked to not be identified to discuss an open investigation. Carey, 34, is believed by authorities to have been the driver, the official said.
Carey believed that Obama planned to broadcast her life on television and that he had placed Stamford on lockdown, ABC reported citing sources it didn’t identify. Her boyfriend called police twice last year to report she was acting irrationally and putting her baby daughter in danger, the network said.
ABC also reported that Carey’s mother, Idella Carey, said her daughter suffered from post-partum depression after having a baby in August 2012. “She was depressed” and was hospitalized, ABC quoted Idella Carey as saying. She said she didn’t know why her daughter was in Washington, ABC said.
The shooting near the U.S. Capitol startled office workers and tourists in an area of Washington that has been under heavy security since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It took place less than three weeks after a gunman killed 12 people in a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, a military facility about a mile south of the Capitol.
Miriam Carey’s former lawyer, Leslie Silva of Stamford, said yesterday she had represented Carey in several matters, including a dispute over unemployment benefits and a threatened foreclosure after she missed a condominium fee payment.
“These were very minor problems, very minor and easily resolved,” Silva said. “They weren’t cases of a desperate nature.” She said she last saw Carey in January or February.
Silva said she handled the closing when Carey bought her condominium in 2009. Carey was fired by the dentist who employed her after she returned following her pregnancy, said Silva, who said she helped Carey obtain unemployment benefits.
The foreclosure notice was filed over an unpaid condominium fee of less than $1,500, Silva said. The situation was worked out and the foreclosure notice withdrawn, she said.
Erin Jackson, 31, of Stamford said in an interview that she and Carey were next-door neighbors in the Woodside Green Condominiums and that they occasionally smiled at one another and exchanged greetings. They hung similar flower wreaths on their doors, she said.
Jackson said she sometimes saw Carey and her daughter picnicking on the lawn across from their condominium building during the summer.
“Never in a million years would I have thought it was her,” Jackson said. “No one knows why or what happened.”
Following the incident, authorities conducted and overnight search of an apartment at the condominium building.
After obtaining a search warrant, federal and local law enforcement officers broke through a window and placed a robot in the apartment to determine it was safe before entering, according to Stamford Police Chief Jon Fontneau. They hauled away items including a computer and cardboard boxes.
Fontneau said the woman’s apartment wasn’t unusual. “She was nothing out of the ordinary that would draw attention to herself at that point,” he said. Fontneau said his department had prior experience with Carey that didn’t involve criminal charges, while declining to disclose details.
The incident “appears to be an isolated, singular matter with, at this point, no nexus to terrorism,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said at an Oct. 3 briefing.
The Capitol was locked down and the Senate and House of Representatives recessed amid reports of gunfire. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the afternoon incident began when the woman tried to ram through an outer barricade on the White House grounds, less than 2 miles (3 kilometers) away.
Uniformed Secret Service officers blocked the car at the White House, and a chase ensued as the suspect drove through downtown streets toward the Capitol, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters after the incident. Shots were fired in at least two locations, she said.
Officers tried to stop the suspect at Garfield circle, at the foot of the Capitol, Dine said. She continued driving, striking a police cruiser near 1st Street and Maryland Avenue on Capitol Hill. The chase ended about a block away, Dine said, adjacent to two buildings where many senators have offices.
Carey’s sister, Amy Carey-Jones, said her family was in shock over the incident and questioned whether authorities needed to resort to deadly force to end it.
“There has to be another way instead of shooting and killing an individual,” Carey-Jones said in an interview aired on CNN last night. “There could have been something else that could have been done.”
A one-year-old girl was found unharmed in the car and taken to a hospital for observation, according to a Washington police statement. While authorities haven’t identified the child, Carey-Jones acknowledged on CNN the girl was her sister’s daughter and said the family has been told she’s safe.
Two officers were injured during the chase, one from the Secret Service and one from the Capitol Police, Lanier said.
Some lawmakers and staff members at the Capitol wore buttons yesterday that said “Thank You Capitol Police,” referring to the officers who responded to the incident.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday that officers are “risking their jobs without pay” during the partial federal government shutdown that began Oct. 1. Congress “owes it to them” to resolve its differences and open the government, the Nevada Democrat said.
Reid said he spoke with the Capitol Police officer who was injured in the incident, who said his job was to keep the Capitol community safe. Reid, 73, was a part-time Capitol Police officer while he attended law school in Washington.