A picture provided by Advanced Periodontics in Hamden, Connecticut, shows former employee Miriam Carey who engaged police in a dramatic car chase through the streets of Washington. (AP)
Washington, Oct. 4 (Reuters): The woman who engaged police in a dramatic car chase through the streets of Washington, prompting a lockdown of the US Capitol yesterday before police shot her dead, suffered from post-partum depression, her mother told ABC News.
Miriam Carey, 34, had her one-year-old baby in the car with her when she tried to drive through a barrier near the White House, then sped away towards Capitol Hill and led police on a high-speed chase that ended when her car got stuck on a median and police shot her.
Carey had suffered from depression, ABC quoted her mother as saying, while a neighbour who lived in her Stamford, Connecticut, apartment building said she had been acting erratically lately.
“She had post-partum depression after having the baby,” said Idella Carey, who identified herself as Miriam Carey’s mother, ABC News reported today. “A few months later, she got sick. She was depressed. ... She was hospitalised.”
Investigators probing the incident are focusing on whether Carey had mental problems that triggered her actions, a US official speaking on condition of anonymity said today. Carey had no previous run-ins with the US Secret Service, which is responsible for White House security, a law enforcement official said.
An officer at Washington’s Metropolitan Police headquarters confirmed that Carey was the driver of the black Infiniti coupe involved in the incident, but declined to provide further details.
A lawyer for the Carey family, Eric Sanders, did not immediately return a call seeking comment today, but a person who answered the phone at this office said he would be issuing a statement on the family’s behalf.
Outside a Stamford, Connecticut, building where Carey had lived, most neighbours said they knew little about the woman. But one man, a 59-year-old resident of the building who would only identify himself as “OV,” said she had been behaving unusually recently.
“She seemed nice, but was very erratic lately, was acting very strange,” he said. “She seemed like she was OK one minute, and then wasn’t making any sense the next.
“She would often speed her car in and out of the parking lot here, and that was something that really concerned me,” he said.
The incident, which came as Congress was debating how to resolve the current shutdown of the federal government, was initially reported as a shooting. But law enforcement sources said the woman did not shoot a gun and that there is no indication she had one.
Law enforcement investigators had largely completed their search of Carey’s Stamford apartment today and reopened the building, which had been evacuated a day earlier, to residents. Stamford mayor Michael Pavia said the investigation had been handed over to the FBI.
Two officers were hurt in yesterday’s incident. One was a Secret Service officer who was struck by the suspect’s car outside the White House, Donovan said.
The other was a Capitol Police officer whose car struck a barricade during the mid-afternoon chase, which ranged over about 2.4km and lasted just a few minutes, officials said.
Security was tight near the Capitol after yesterday’s incident, which came just three weeks after a government contractor opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, about 2.4km from the Capitol, killing 12 people and wounding three others before he was shot dead by police.