Meetings in Congress discussing the current government shutdown were temporarily halted when shots were fired near Capitol Hill today. The U.S. Capitol was placed on a security lockdown immediately following the gunshots, but no members of Congress or its staff were injured or under immediate threat.
The shots were fired by policemen rather than the suspect, who was ultimately found to be unarmed. The event escalated to include gunfire after authorities chased a black sedan from an area nearby the White House to Capitol Hill. The car had attempted to cross White House barricades after its driver allegedly became involved with an argument with Secret Service and security officials at a nearby checkpoint. The woman driving the vehicle, which also contained a child, sped through traffic lights around D.C. as police vehicles pursued her. The woman was under such high pursuit because she had sped off in the area near the White House, which aroused suspicions of a threat to government officials.
A new video has emerged in the story, documenting the portion of the strange event that took place outside Capitol Hill, where the woman was eventually cornered after driving away from the White House area. In the video, police officers approach the car with their guns drawn. When they attempt to open the woman’s car door, she immediately shifts the car in reverse, hits a squad car, and speeds off in another direction. She circles around a round-a-bout, under pursuit of police vehicles, and then continues driving in a different direction.
The suspect’s car eventually crashed, and the driver had apparently been hit by one of the shots fired by the officers. The child remained uninjured, and was removed by police authorities. No weapons were found in the car. The driver's motivation for fleeing the squad cars that approached her nearby the White House are still unclear, but Capitol authorities claimed that the event was not a terrorist threat but an "isolated incident."
Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader and one of the chief government individuals involved with the current government shutdown, tweeted his support of the authorities working in D.C. today. “The brave men and women of our Capitol Police put their lives on the line every day to protect us, and I thank them for their service,” the Senator tweeted. Members of the GOP also expressed their support for the actions of the law enforcement officers.
According to the NY Daily News, Miriam Carey, 34, was the woman behind the week. Per their report:
Police were searching Carey's condominium building in Connecticut and ABC News reported the woman had a history of "mental health issues."
Carey's former boss, Dr. Brian Evans, told The Daily News that she “fell down some stairs and she had a pretty significant head injury” during the nearly two years she worked for him.