WASHINGTON (WJZ/AP) — A 34-year-old Stamford, Conn. woman driving a black Infiniti with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday afternoon, and then led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her.
Linh Bui has the latest on the incident that started around 2:18 p.m. and ended within a half hour.
Police say the young child who was with her is about a year old, is in good condition and in protective custody.
David Loewenberg, who lives nearby, witnessed the chaotic scene.
“I did see a black car that looked like it had maybe rode up the side of the curb, crashed. It was off the road. A few seconds later, I saw a police officer kind of hugging a small child, taking that child away from the scene,” Loewenberg said.
Shortly after that, Loewenberg says officers rushed him back into his home.
Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger was on Capitol Hill during the time of the incident.
“I was coming out of the Capitol and I left, leaving to go over to my office,” he told WJZ. “I did not hear shots. Two minutes after I left the Capitol parking lot, is when the incident occurred. I came back to my office, and people were saying ‘It’s a lockdown. Get in your office.’ The Capitol police have trained our staff and let us all know when there are situations like this that occur, you’re supposed to lock the doors, turn your lights out, and then listen to communication. That’s exactly what occurred.”
A police officer was injured, but his injuries do not appear to be life threatening.
“We sometimes take our police officers for granted. They’re out there protecting us every day. We should really pray for the well being of this police officer, who was Medevaced to a hospital,” Ruppersberger said.
The Latest On The Investigation:
The driver’s condition was not first clear after police fired at the car. Authorities performed several minutes of CPR on someone near the driver’s side of the car, then carried that person away.
Police described it as an isolated event and saw no indications of terrorism.
The pursuit began when a car with Connecticut plates sped onto the driveway leading to the White House, over a set of lowered barricades. When she couldn’t get through a second barrier, she spun the car in the opposite direction, flipping a Secret Service officer over the hood of the car as she sped away, said B.J. Campbell, a visiting tourist from Portland, Ore.
A fleet of police and Secret Service cars chased the Infiniti toward Capitol Hill.
This incident comes two weeks after a deadly shooting at the nearby Navy Yard and amid a government shutdown.
“Because of the fact that we are in a shutdown and there is nonstop media, I think the whole country is very upset and concerned as they should be,” Ruppersberger said. “It’s very frustrating, and that’s why we hope that we can sway a few people to allow us to vote on a bill that will allow us to open the government and then do our business: negotiate, communicate, whatever we need to do to open the government.”
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., told reporters he was walking from the Capitol to the Senate Russell Office Building across the street when he noticed several police officers driving fast up Constitution Avenue on motorcycles.
A Look At The Police Chase That Led To The Shooting:
“Within seconds of that,” Casey said, “we heard three, four, five pops,” which he assumed were gunshots. He said police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection.
In about two minutes, he said, the officers moved everyone into the Capitol.
As a warning was sounded, the House abruptly went into recess and lawmakers left the chamber floor.
The House had just finished approving legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.
People standing outside the Supreme Court across the street from Congress were hurried into the court building by authorities.
In a notice distributed by email, the U.S. Capitol Police advised everyone to “close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows.”
The White House was quickly locked down after the incident at Capitol Hill and the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the compound was closed to pedestrians. Secret Service said the procedures were precautionary.
The lockdown has since been lifted but roads remain closed as the investigation continues.
U.S. Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown.
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