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October 03, 2013

Police: Female Suspect Killed After Car Chase from White House

Police have shot and killed a woman near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, after she tried to drive through a barricade near the White House before driving away and leading officers on a dramatic car chase.

Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters the woman died after police fired into her vehicle. Lanier said shots were fired in at least two locations during the confrontation Thursday afternoon.

Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said this appeared to be an isolated incident with no link to terrorism. He said a police officer injured in the car chase is doing well, and that another officer rescued a 1-year-old child from the car after the chase.

The U.S. Capitol was put under a brief security lockdown as the situation unfolded. But there never was a threat to lawmakers inside the building.

Police are refusing to comment on the motive of the woman who drove the car. They say the incident remains under investigation.



A witness told VOA's Indonesia service he was less than 20 meters away when he saw a car racing toward the Capitol pursued by police cars. He said police stopped the car and approached it with guns drawn and ordered the driver out of the car.

Instead, the witness said, the driver accelerated in reverse, smashing into a police car and spinning around. The driver then began to speed off, and police fired into the car.

U.S.-funded Alhurra TV captured footage of what appeared to be a chaotic car chase.

The incident happened during a partial government shutdown that began Tuesday after lawmakers could not reach agreement on a spending bill. It also took place after a recent shooting at a U.S. Naval facility in Washington left 13 people dead, including the gunman.

In a notice sent by email as the incident unfolded, Capitol police advised people inside the building to "close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows." VOA congressional correspondent Cindy Saine said some members were briefly locked inside the House chamber.

The Senate also halted all business before the lockdown was lifted, and the Secret Service cleared people off Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.

Officials said President Barack Obama was inside the White House at the time and was briefed on the reports.

A senior lawmaker, House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Capitol police for their tireless dedication.