Woman shot by police near Capitol was delusional, official says

Idella Carey says daughter Miriam suffered from postpartum depression but had 'no history of violence'

A Connecticut woman shot to death by police after she tried to drive through barricades outside the White House delusionally believed that the president was communicating with her, a federal law-enforcement official said Friday.

After Miriam Carey's attempt to breach a barrier at the White House Thursday, her mother, Idella Carey, told ABC News that her daughter suffered from postpartum depression.

Miriam Carey

"After having the baby, she got sick," she said. "She was depressed ... She was hospitalized."

Carey, 34, a resident of Stamford, Conn., led officers on a high-speed car chase that put Capitol Hill on lockdown and ended with her being shot dead by police. Her 18-month-old daughter, Erica, who was in the car with her at the time, was not injured.

Idella Carey said her 34-year-old daughter had "no history of violence" and that she didn't know why Miriam was in Washington on Thursday.

ABC News reported that her daughter was a dental hygienist. Her boss, Dr. Steven Oken, described her as a person who was "always happy."

"I would never in a million years believe that she would do something like this," he said. "It's the furthest thing from anything I would think she would do, especially with her child in the car. I am floored that it would be her."

The chain of events began Thursday when Miriam Carey drove her car past a set of barricades and sped onto a driveway leading to the White House. After she couldn't get through a second barrier, she spun her car in the opposite direction, flipping a Secret Service officer over the hood as she sped away, said B.J. Campbell, a tourist from Portland, Ore.

"This wasn't no accident. She was not a lost tourist," Campbell said later near the scene.

Then the chase began.

"The car was trying to get away. But it was going over the median and over the curb," said Matthew Coursen, who was watching from a cab window when Carey's car sped by him. "The car got boxed in, and that's when I saw an officer of some kind draw his weapon and fire shots into the car."

A Secret Service officer and a 23-year veteran of the Capitol Police were injured. Officials said they are in good condition and are expected to recover.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who was briefed by the Department of Homeland Security, said he did not believe Carey was armed. "There was no return fire," he said.

Thursday's incident comes two weeks after a mentally disturbed employee terrorized the Washington Navy Yard with a shotgun, leaving 13 people dead, including the shooter.

Police said Carey did not appear to have any links to terrorism. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine, whose officers have been working without pay because of the government shutdown, called it an "isolated, singular matter."

Nevertheless, Congress suspended business as Capitol Police broadcast a message over its emergency radio system telling people to stay in place and move away from windows.

The FBI served a search warrant in connection with the investigation, and police cordoned off a condominium building and the surrounding neighborhood in Stamford as they looked for motives for Carey's actions.

Condo resident Eric Bredow, a banker, said police told him the suspect in the car chase was one of his neighbors.

"I see the door to my building open and the FBI bomb squad in front of it," said Bredow, who added that helicopters were flying overhead when he arrived home.

'It just doesn't work out'

Connecticut records show Carey had been a licensed dental hygienist since 2009. Records show the license expired on Thursday.

Dr. Brian Evans, a periodontist in Hamden, Conn., said Carey worked as a hygienist in his office for about two years before she was fired a year ago. He would not go into detail about the reasons surrounding her departure.

"Sometimes it just doesn't work out. There was nothing unusual about her leaving our office," he said.

He said Carey had been away from the job for a time after falling down a staircase and suffering a head injury, and she learned she was pregnant when she was hospitalized. He said she was fired a few weeks after she returned to the office.

"We're shocked to know this happened, and we feel saddened for her family and all those involved," he said.

The Associated Press

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