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A woman with a young child was shot to death after turning her vehicle into a weapon Thursday afternoon,ramming her way through barriers outside the White House and on Capitol Hill.
By the time the ensuing chase ended,dozens of shots had been fired and two officers were injured. The child was unharmed.
Coming a little more than two weeks after the Washington Navy Yard shooting,the episode unnerved a city already feeling the tensions between the White House and Congressional Republicans that have ground the federal government to a halt and kept thousands of people home from work.
The Capitol was locked down for half an hour during the chase and shooting.
The authorities identified the woman as Miriam Carey,34,a dental hygienist from Stamford,Conn. They had difficulty identifying her because of the extent of her injuries.
Stamford police roped off and evacuated Careys condominium building Thursday afternoon,and bomb units stood by. Neighbours in Connecticut said Carey had a child,but it was unclear if the toddler in the car was hers.
The chase began at 2:12 pm when Carey,driving a black two-door Infiniti with Connecticut plates,tried to ram through a White House checkpoint. The guys ran to try to stop her,and she wasnt going to slow down,so they jumped aside, said B J Campbell,a tourist from Portland,Ore.,standing near the White House. One of the guys grabbed one of those little metal fence sections and shoved it in front of her,across the driveway.
Campbell said the woman hit the gas,ran over the barricade and hit the officer,who flipped onto the hood of the car and rolled off into the gutter. After she ran him down,she gunned it,and she just went screaming down Pennsylvania Avenue, he said.
Despite attempts by uniformed Secret Service officers to get her to pull over,Carey sped down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol at speeds up to 80 miles per hour and drove through several red lights,law enforcement officials said.
Several minutes later,officers appeared to have the woman cornered in front of the western side of the Capitol facing the National Mall. But as officers,with weapons drawn,approached Careys car,she rammed it into reverse.
Officers tried to dodge out of the way,but the Infiniti struck a police car and raced up Constitution Avenue,where it crashed into a barrier. What occurred next was not clear. Carey managed to get out of the car,and was shot by several officers. According to a law enforcement official,she was not armed,and it was not known whether she presented an immediate danger.