Family of woman killed in DC chase says police shooting 'not justified'

'Deadly physical force was not the ultimate recourse,' says the sister of 34-year-old Miriam Carey

Valarie Carey, left, and Amy Carey-Jones, sisters of Miriam Carey, attend a news conference outside their home in Brooklyn, N.Y., Friday.
Carlo Allegri/Reuters

One of the sisters of 34-year-old Miriam Carey, who was fatally shot by police in Washington after trying to ram her car through a White House barrier and after an ensuing car chase led to the lockdown of the Capitol Thursday afternoon, said the shooting was "not justified" as the investigation into what led up to the incident continues. 

"Deadly physical force was not the ultimate recourse and it didn't have to be," Valarie Carey, a former New York police sergeant, told reporters outside her Brooklyn, N.Y., home Friday.

After ramming the barricades at the White House, Miriam Carey, who was apparently unarmed led police on a mile-and-a-half chase down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol, where she was shot. 

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said a Secret Service officer was struck by Carey's car during the incident. A Capitol Police officer was also hurt when his car struck a barricade during the mid-afternoon chase, officials said.

But Miriam's sister insisted that none of those factors should have led authorities to fire their weapons.

"I'm more than certain that there was no need for a gun to be used (by police) when there was no gunfire coming from the vehicle," Valarie Carey said.

The Metropolitan Police Department said the shooting is under investigation by its internal affairs division with assistance from the Secret Service, the Capitol Police and the FBI. 

Eric Sanders, an attorney for the Carey family said the woman's relatives have not decided whether to take legal action.

Health questions raised

Miriam Carey

Miriam Carey's 1-year-old daughter, who was in the vehicle during the deadly encounter with authorities, escaped serious injury and was taken into protective custody. The woman's family said she suffered from post-partum depression with psychosis. 

Amy Carey-Jones, Miriam's other sister, said her sibling was a "law-abiding citizen, carefree and loving" while adding that she had been receiving medication and therapy.

A federal law enforcement official, who had been briefed about the investigation told the Associated Press that investigators were interviewing Carey's family about her mental state and examining writings found in her Stamford, Conn., condominium.

"We are seeing serious degradation in her mental health, certainly within the last 10 months, since December, ups and downs," the official said. "Our working theory is her mental health was a significant driver in her unexpected presence in D.C. yesterday."

Carey also believed President Barack Obama was communicating to her, the official said.

"Those communications were, of course, in her head," the official said, adding that concerns about her mental health were reported in the last year to Stamford police.

Dr. Brian Evans, a periodontist in Hamden, Conn., said Carey was fired from her job at his office about a year ago but wouldn't say why.

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

He said Carey had been away from the job for a period after falling down a staircase and suffering a head injury and it was a few weeks after she returned to work that she was fired. 

Carey was a licensed dental hygienist, according to records kept online by the state of Connecticut.

Wire services

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