A woman with a 1-year-old girl was shot to death after turning her vehicle into a weapon Thursday afternoon, ramming her way through barriers at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
By the time the chase ended, dozens of shots had been fired, and two officers were injured. The child was unharmed.
Coming a little more than two weeks after the Navy Yard shooting, the episode unnerved a city already feeling the tensions between the White House and congressional Republicans that have ground the federal government to a halt and kept thousands of people home from work.
The Capitol was locked down for a half-hour during the chase and shooting. Afterward, House Republicans and Democrats took to the floor to praise the response of the Capitol Police.
Authorities identified the woman as Miriam Carey, 34, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn.
The Stamford police roped off and evacuated Carey's condominium complex Thursday afternoon, and bomb units stood by. FBI agents were also looking to interview the woman's relatives in New York.
Dr. Brian L. Evans, a periodontist in Hamden, Conn., for whom Carey had worked until about a year ago, said he believed that she had suffered a significant head injury sometime during the year she was employed by him. He described Carey as having "a bit of a temper," but "nothing unusual, nothing that would ever lead us to think she would ever do anything like this."
The chase began at 2:12 p.m. when Carey, who was driving a black two-door Infiniti with Connecticut plates, attempted to ram through a White House checkpoint.
"The guys ran to try to stop her, and she wasn't going to slow down, so they jumped aside," said B.J. Campbell, a tourist from Portland, Ore., who was standing near the White House. "One of the guys grabbed one of those little metal fence sections and shoved it in front of her, across the driveway. She hit the brakes slightly and tried to get around it on the right, but the guy shoved it in front of her again, to try to keep her in."
Campbell said the woman "hit the gas, ran over the barricade" and hit the officer, who flipped onto the hood of the car and "rolled off into the gutter."
"After she ran him down, she gunned it, and she just went screaming down Pennsylvania Avenue," he said. "They were busy calling on their phones, on the radios. It was like poking a hornet nest. There were guys everywhere. I didn't see anyone with their guns out, but they were sure busy."
D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier, who is overseeing an investigation of the incident, dismissed a question from a reporter about whether the chase might have been the result of an accident by a confused driver.
Despite attempts by uniformed Secret Service officers to get her to pull over, Carey sped down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol as fast as 80 mph and driving through several red lights, law enforcement officials said.
Several minutes later, officers appeared to have the woman cornered in front of the eastern side of the Capitol facing the National Mall. But as officers, with their weapons drawn, approached Carey's car, she rammed it into reverse.
Officers tried to dodge out of the way, but the Infiniti struck a police car and raced up Constitution Avenue, where it crashed into a barrier. Carey, who was unarmed, got out of the car and was shot, although she also may have been hit while she was in the Infiniti.
The authorities took her to a hospital, and she was pronounced dead.
One Secret Service member and a 23-year veteran of the Capitol Police were injured. Officials said they are in good condition and expected to recover.
There was panic inside the Capitol campus as it became clear that police were mobilizing for a security threat. Loud buzzers were a jarring sound in a city still on edge from shootings last month at the Washington Navy Yard that killed 12 people. Police officers with semiautomatic rifles ran through corridors. They quickly sealed off the entrances to hallways and instructed people to remain in place.
Capitol Police on the plaza around the Capitol said they were working without pay as the result of the shutdown.
Information from the Associated Press and Washington Post was used in this report.