Capitol Hill Shooting: What We Know, What We Think We Do, and What We Don't

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 4 2013 10:06 AM

Capitol Hill Shooting: What We Know, What We Think We Do, and What We Don't

Police close in on the U.S. Capitol as people run for cover after reports of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. Capitol was locked down for the better part of an hour Thursday afternoon after a high-speed car chase that began near the White House ended with a female suspect being shot and killed by police near Capitol Hill. The details of what exactly happened in the nation's capital continue to come into focus, although there are still plenty of questions left unanswered. Given what we now know, that appears unlikely to change anytime soon.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

What We Know—


The Police's Version of Events: Washington Post: "A car chase that began when an unknown driver tried to breach a White House security barrier ended across downtown Washington near the U.S. Capitol, with a confrontation that included shots fired and one Capitol Police officer injured, police said. ... The chase and the shootings triggered a brief lockdown in the Capitol, which was full of lawmakers and staff focused on the ongoing government shutdown. Officers ran through the ornate hallways carrying semiautomatic weapons. But no one in the Capitol complex was hurt, and the House resumed its business before 4 p.m." [You can watch video of the high-speed chase here.]

The Suspect Was Killed: Speaking at a Thursday evening press briefing, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier confirmed multiple reports that the suspect was killed during the incident.

One Police Officer Was Injured During the Pursuit: AP: "A police officer was injured in the traffic accident but [Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance] Gainer said the injuries were not life threatening." "U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told reporters Thursday evening that he "personally spoke with the officer and he is doing well."

A Child Was in the Car During the Chase: Via ABC News: "A child was found unhurt in the woman's car, authorities said."

Plenty of Lawmakers Heard Shots: "We heard three, four, five pops," Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) told reporters Thursday afternoon, adding that police ordered him and nearby tourists to crouch behind a car for protection. Within minutes, the officers moved everyone into the Capitol, he said.

Where The Shooting Happened: Via USA Today: "The shooting occurred at Maryland Ave. NE and 2nd St., about two blocks from the U.S. Capitol."

What We Think We Know—

The Suspect's Identity: Washington Post: "Law enforcement officials said the vehicle was registered to a 34-year-old mother named Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn. They think it was Carey, with her 1-year-old daughter sitting behind her, who flattened barricades outside the White House, struck officers and then set off at high speed down Pennsylvania Avenue."

She May Have Suffered From Post-Partum Depression: ABC News: "Authorities said she had a history of mental health issues, and her mother told ABC News she suffered from post-partum depression." NBC News: "The woman ... may have thought that President Barack Obama was stalking her, law enforcement sources told NBC News. The sources said that the woman, Miriam Carey, had a history of mental health problems."

She Never Opened Fire: Via ABC News: "Police said there were no weapons found in the suspect's car." Associated Press: "Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tex., who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said the woman was killed. Asked if she was armed, he replied: 'I don't think she was. There was no return fire.'"

All The Shots Came From Police: WaPo: "It appeared that the woman driving the car was injured in the final confrontation near 2nd Street and Constitution Avenue NE at about 2 p.m. ... It appeared, from [U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine's] account, that all shots had been fired by police officers trying to stop the woman’s car."

What We Don't Know—

Motive: Politico: "U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told reporters that the shooting ... 'appears to be an isolated incident.' Dine also said the incident didn't appear to be associated with terrorism." Police said Thursday evening that they were not ready to publicly ID the suspect. Added Lanier later:""I'm pretty confident this was not an accident."

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***


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