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Chase from White House to Capitol ends in woman being shot and killed by police

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Police gather near the scene on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after gunshots were heard. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Police gather near the scene on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after gunshots were heard. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

UPDATE:

By BRADLEY KLAPPER and LAURIE KELLMAN

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A woman with a 1-year-old girl led Secret Service and police on a harrowing car chase from the White House past the Capitol Thursday, attempting to penetrate the security barriers at both national landmarks before she was shot to death, police said. The child survived.

"I'm pretty confident this was not an accident," said Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Still, Capitol Police said there appeared to be no terrorist link. The woman apparently was unarmed.

Tourists, congressional staff and even some senators watched as a caravan of law enforcement vehicles chase a black Infiniti with Connecticut license plates down Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol. House and Senate lawmakers, inside debating how to end a government shutdown, briefly shuttered their chambers as Capitol Police shut down the building.

The woman's car at one point had been surrounded by police cars and she managed to escape, careening around a traffic circle and past the north side of the Capitol. Video shot by a TV cameraman showed police pointing firearms at her car before she rammed a Secret Service vehicle and continued driving. Lanier said police shot and killed her a block northeast of the historic building.

One Secret Service member and a 23-year veteran of the Capitol Police were injured. Officials said they are in good condition and expected to recover.

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

Law-enforcement authorities identified the woman as Miriam Carey, 34, of Stamford, Conn. The authorities spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge the information publicly.

Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia said the FBI was executing a search warrant at a Stamford address in connection with the investigation. Police officers had cordoned off a condominium building and the surrounding neighborhood in the shoreline city.

The pursuit began when the car sped onto a driveway leading to the White House, over a set of lowered barricades. When the driver 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 tourist from Portland, Ore.

Then the chase began.

"The car was trying to get away. But it was going over the median and over the curb," said Matthew Coursen, who was watching from a cab window when the Infiniti sped by him. "The car got boxed in and that's when I saw an officer of some kind draw his weapon and fire shots into the car."

Police shot and killed the driver just outside the Hart Senate Office Building, where many senators have their offices. Dine said an officer took the child from the car to a hospital. She is in good condition under protective custody, officials said.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said he did not think the woman was armed. "There was no return fire," he said.

A few senators between the Capitol and their office buildings said they heard the shots.

"We heard three, four, five pops," said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. Police ordered Casey and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection, then hustled everyone into the Capitol.

Others witnessed the incident, too.

"There were multiple shots fired and the air was filled with gunpowder," said Berin Szoka, whose office at a technology think tank overlooks the shooting scene.

The shooting comes two weeks after a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead including the gunman.

Before the disruption, lawmakers had been trying to find common ground to end a government shutdown. The House had just finished approving legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.

Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown.

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Associated Press writers Adam Goldman, Mark Sherman, Philip Elliott, Jesse Holland, David Espo, Alan Fram, Eric Tucker, Brett Zongker, Donna Cassata and Henry C. Jackson in Washington, Michael Melia in Hartford, Conn., and John Christoffersen in Stamford, Conn., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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UPDATE:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Witnesses and officials say a woman driving a car with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade, led police on a chase toward the Capitol, where police shot and killed her. The child was taken from the car to a hospital. Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrence Gainer says he knows of no harm to the child.

Tourists watched the shooting unfold on Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol today as lawmakers inside debated how to end a government shutdown. Police quickly locked down the entire complex temporarily, and both houses of Congress went into recess.

Texas Congressman Michael McCaul, citing a Homeland Security Department briefing, said the woman was killed. Asked if she was armed, he replied: "I don't think she was. There was no return fire."

Police described it as an isolated event and saw no indications of terrorism.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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UPDATE:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Police and witnesses say the gunfire outside the U.S. Capitol today began when a woman tried to ram through a White House barricade with her car.

They say the woman then led police on a chase that ended outside the Capitol. Police say the woman was taken into custody, and a young child who was with her was taken to a hospital.

A police officer was injured when the car crashed outside the Capitol, but the injuries weren't life-threatening. Police say no officers were wounded by gunfire.

The entire Capitol complex was locked down for about an hour. Both houses of Congress went into recess.

Witnesses say at least 20 police cars were involved in chasing the Lexus toward Capitol Hill. One tourist says he walked toward the scene, curious about what was going on -- but the he "heard the gunfire" and hit the ground.

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ORIGINAL:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Police have now ended the lockdown at the U.S. Capitol building. It began when gunshots were fired outside the building today, reportedly injuring a police officer.
    
A tourist who was outside the building says the shooting unfolded after police chased a car up Constitution Avenue toward the Capitol. He says he "heard the gunfire" and hit the ground.
    
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania says he was walking from the Capitol to a Senate office building when he noticed several police officers riding quickly up Constitution Avenue on motorcycles. He says he then heard three to five "pops" -- and that officers soon moved everyone into the Capitol building.
    
As a warning was sounded, the House went into recess. The Senate also suspended business.
    
The House had just approved legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)