A police chase in Washington DC has ended in gunfire, sparking panic at the White House and US Capitol and leaving a woman dead and two officers injured. A child said to be between 12 and 18 months of age and reportedly the daughter of the woman, was in the car when police opened fire.
Instead, the motorist’s black Infiniti, according to authorities, itself became a weapon Thursday afternoon, first striking a security barrier and U.S. Secret Service officer near the White House before hurtling down some of the capital’s most famous streets, police cruisers in pursuit.
And a city heretofore fixated on a partial government shutdown was left with unanswered questions. Why did this happen? Why did the woman drive away from the White House and toward Capitol Hill?
A task force prepared to execute a search warrant at the woman’s Stamford, Connecticut, residence, law enforcement sources said. Police and bomb squad units surrounded an apartment complex. Authorities wanted to speak with the suspect’s relatives in Brooklyn, New York, but were turned away.
House and Senate sessions were immediately suspended, with legislators ordered to take cover and keep away from windows. Police also closed Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.
Within moments of the news breaking Capitol police announced an “active shooter” situation and issued a “Shelter in Place” order. Eyewitnesses reported hearing “ten to twelve shots” fired, some adding that they had seen the car riddled with bullet holes. One hour later, however, an all-clear was declared and the lockdown was lifted.