WASHINGTON – Law enforcement authorities were investigating why a Connecticut woman tried to breach a barrier at the White House, setting off a high-speed car chase that put the Capitol on lockdown, and ended with her being shot dead by police.
The harrowing chase yesterday Thursday unfolded between two national landmarks, briefly shuttered the chambers where federal lawmakers were debating how to end a government shutdown and stirred fresh panic in a city where a gunman two weeks ago killed 12 people.
Police said there appeared to be no direct link to terrorism, and there was no indication the woman was even armed. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, whose officers have been working without pay as a result of the shutdown, called it an “isolated, singular matter”.
Still, tourists, congressional staff and even some senators watched anxiously as a caravan of law enforcement vehicles chased a black Infiniti with Connecticut licence plates down Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol and as officers with high-powered firearms canvassed the area. The House and Senate both abruptly suspended business, a lawmaker’s speech cut off in mid-sentence, as the Capitol Police broadcast a message over its emergency radio system telling people to stay in place and move away from the windows.
The woman’s car at one point had been surrounded by police vehicles and she managed to escape, careering 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. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said police shot and killed her a block northeast of the historic building. (AP)