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Capitol shooter suffered from mental illness

October 9th, 2013

In the midst of the government shutdown, Washington, D.C. was struck with disarray for the second time in three weeks when 34-year-old Miriam Carey sent police on a chase through the nation’s capital.

Officers followed her black sedan down Constitution Avenue leading to the base of the Capitol building, where she was ultimately shot and killed. Carey’s one-year-old daughter was in the car, but was not harmed during the incident.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that the altercation began when Carey’s vehicle was stopped at an outer parameter White House security checkpoint.  According to ABC News, Donovan said that no shots were fired at that original location. He also said that after ramming into the barrier, she drove off, hitting another Secret Service officer in the process. The chase ended tragically, and along the way, another Capitol police officer was injured after his car hit a barricade.

ABC News quoted Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) who said, “We heard shots. They told us to get behind a car,” as he re-entered the Capitol building just moments before it was OK.

Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa) was also quoted saying, “We heard three, four, five pops.” Casey was crossing the street at the time of the incident and was told to take cover and stand back. Officers in the area also directed tourists and others to safety.

In the past few days, Carey’s family has spoken out and provided more details about her life. Al Jazeera quoted Carey’s sister, Valarie, who said, “Deadly physical force was not the ultimate recourse and it didn’t have to be.” Valarie is a former New York City police sergeant and felt that officers made the wrong decision by firing into a car that was not producing any gunshots or sights of a weapon. The family has not decided whether or not they are going to pursue any legal actions regarding the shooting.

Carey’s family also told reporters that she suffered from post-partum depression with psychosis. Her older sister said that she was a law-abiding citizen, but had been receiving therapy and taking medications for her illness. The investigation at her condominium revealed writing from the victim that showed severe mental instability and she believed that she was in communication with President Obama, which was clearly in her head, according to officials from the Stamford police.

At this time, the Metropolitan Police department in Washington is investigating the shooting along with the help of the FBI and Secret Service.

Information from Al Jazeera America, ABC News, and The Guardian were used in this article.