Wednesday, April 16, 2014

News
DC Police: Female suspect in Capitol chase dead
by Chris Patterson




WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A wild car chase Thursday that started near the White House ended minutes later in gunfire at the U.S. Capitol, creating a chaotic scene of blaring sirens, locked-down lawmakers and bystanders hitting the dirt.


Two people were hospitalized -- the woman who drove the two-door black car that sped past iconic Washington landmarks and ran red lights with police cruisers in pursuit, and an officer in one of the police vehicles she rammed in trying to get away.


A young child in the black car with the woman appeared to be uninjured.


The female motorist who led police on a chase through the heart of Washington was hit by gunfire and pronounced dead, said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.



A U.S. Capitol Police officer injured during a police chase between the White House and the U.S. Capitol "is going to be fine," officials said Thursday evening. The officer is a 23-year veteran.



The dramatic events brought a swarm of emergency vehicles to the Capitol complex and caused Congress and surrounding offices to be temporarily locked down.


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.


CNN's Athena Jones, who was at a Senate office building near the Capitol, said she heard gunshots that sounded like fireworks.


The chase began when the woman driving the black vehicle got involved in some kind of verbal altercation with officers at a security checkpoint a block from the White House, an intelligence source told CNN.


As police cars arrived at the scene, the black vehicle sped away and headed toward the Capitol building.


Frank Schwing, a D.C. resident who was near the front of the Capitol, said several police vehicles stopped the black vehicle and officers "came out with their guns drawn."


The armed officers tried to open the passenger side door, he said.


"At that point, the driver slammed into reverse, slammed into a cruiser, did a 180 (degree turn), took off, and at that point, there were a half dozen or so shots fired," apparently all by small arms from police, Schwing told CNN.


Video footage by other witnesses showed the black vehicle then careening around a nearby traffic circle with a police car in close pursuit and then headed away. Shortly afterward, the black car crashed into security barriers a few blocks, witnesses said.


The woman was shot several times in the vehicle, sources told CNN, adding officers were not aware at the time there was a child passenger.


According to multiple sources, there was no reason so far to believe that the woman fired any shots or even had a weapon.


A task force prepared to execute a search warrant at her Connecticut home, law enforcement sources said.


In Congress, a Capitol Police bulletin said reports of gunshots required "all occupants in all House office buildings to shelter in place."


"Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows," the bulletin said. Authorities later lifted the lockdown, with police saying they believed the incident was isolated with no connection to terrorism.


President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation, which occurred on the third day of a government shutdown due to a stalemate in Congress over government funding.


"The timing on this was really kind of scary," said Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas. "Capitol Hill police are at a lower personnel level because of the shutdown."