Shots fired on Capitol Hill

4:06 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON -- The 34-year-old Connecticut woman who was shot and killed by police after a harrowing high-speed chase from the White House to Capitol Hill was delusional, believing that President Obama was communicating with her, a federal law enforcement official said Friday.

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The official, who had been briefed on the investigation, spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.

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Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn., has been identified as the driver of the black luxury sedan that first rammed a barrier at the White House, then sped to Capitol Hill, defying attempts by armed police to stop her Thursday afternoon.

She was shot and killed fleeing her car near the Hart Senate Office Building.

Carey is believed to have traveled directly to Washington immediately before the car chase, the official said. A 1-year-old girl was in the car, though she avoided serious injury and was taken into protective custody.

Investigators have been interviewing Carey's family about her mental condition, which had been deteriorating over the past 10 months, the official said.

The woman had made delusional "expressions about the president in the past" and "believed there was some communications to her," and concerns about her mental health were reported in the last year to Stamford police, the official said.

NBC4 News, quoting law enforcement authorities, also reported that there were indications that Carey thought Obama was stalking her.Carey's mother, told ABC NewsThursday that that her daughter began suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter, Erica, last August. "A few months later, she got sick," she said. "She was depressed. ... She was hospitalized."

Idella Carey said her daughter had no history of violence and that she had no idea why she was in Washington on Thursday.

Authorities who descended on Carey's condo in Stamford have not determined a motive for her bizarre behavior through downtown Washington, D.C.

In remarks to The Washington Post, Miriam's sister, Amy Carey, a Brooklyn nurse, appeared stunned by the reports.

"That's impossible. She works, she holds a job," said Amy Carey. "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. I can't answer any more."

In Brooklyn, Freddie Perera, 71, a retired traveling salesman, has lived one door down from Army Carey for four years said he has seen Miriam Carey a few times while she was visiting.

"When she was here, she was normal," Perera said of Miriam Carey. "They are a pretty nice family."

The New York Daily News quoted Carey's former boss, dentist Brian Evans from Advanced Periodontics, in Hamden, Conn., as saying that she "fell down some stairs and she had a pretty significant head injury" in recent years.

Evans also said that Carey, who was let go last year, had a temper and became incensed over being told to quit parking in a handicapped spot at the medical building in Hamden, Conn., where she worked. That created friction between them, he said.

Another of Carey's bosses at Advanced Periodontics, dentist Barry Weiss, told NBC Connecticut that she was a bit "headstrong" on a few occasions but was otherwise "an average employee."

Weiss also that said Carey "could be a bit rough," and after complaints from patients, was fired in August 2012.

"Nothing would have led us to think she would have done this," said Weiss.

Another former boss, dentist Steven Oken, for whom she worked eight years, described Carey as a "non-political person" who was "always happy."

A new Facebook page entitled "In Love Memory of Miriam Carey" features comments from people described as friends and acquaintaces. One, purportedly from a former classmate, said Miram "was really just a sweet and nurturing person."

A note at the top from the creator of the page says: "Folks - this is a community page for us to share our feelings on today's tragedy. Keep your politics and hate speech off this page. This is in memory of my friend."

Court records also show that Carey was sued last year by her condo association for failure to pay fees since 2010 on the Stamford home she owned since 2009. The lawsuit, involving $1,759 plus collection costs, was settled in February, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said the incident "appears to be an isolated, singular matter, with, at this point, no nexus to terrorism."

Two federal officials, who were not authorized to comment publicly, told USA TODAY that all shots were fired by law enforcement officers. One official said no gun was recovered from her car.

"This does not appear to be in any way an accident," Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Thursday. She noted that Carey twice tried to breach security barriers and struck a uniformed Secret Service officer near the White House.

The chaotic events began at 2:12 p.m. ET when the driver rammed a temporary barrier at 15th and E Streets NW, hitting the officer, said Secret Service chief Ed Donovan. Other Secret Service officers chased the woman east on Pennsylvania Avenue but did not shoot.

Lanier said Capitol Police officers pursued the speeding car eastbound and tried to stop it in Garfield Circle, just west of the Capitol lawn. A 23-year-veteran officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he crashed into a barrier.

Police had the woman's car surrounded but she escaped, ramming a Secret Service vehicle as she fled. Lanier said police then fired their first shots at the suspect.

The driver made her way onto Constitution Avenue before eventually stopping in the 100 blocks of Maryland Avenue NE, near the Hart Senate Office Building.

(USA Today & NBC News contributed to this report.)

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