D.C. driver Miriam Carey suffered from depression

A man walks next to authorities preparing to search an apartment building in Stamford, Connecticut October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
A man walks next to authorities preparing to search an apartment building in Stamford, Conn., on Thursday. Credit: Reuters

The woman who engaged police in a dramatic car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., prompting a lockdown of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday before police shot her dead, suffered from post-partum depression, her mother told ABC News.

Miriam Carey, 34, had a 1-year-old toddler in the car with her when she tried to drive through a barrier near the White House, then sped away toward Capitol Hill, leading police on a high-speed chase that ended when her car got stuck on a median and police shot her.

Carey had suffered from depression, ABC quoted her mother as saying, while a neighbor who lived in her Stamford, Connecticut, apartment building said she had been acting erratically lately.

“She had post-partum depression after having the baby,” said Idella Carey, who identified herself as Miriam Carey’s mother, ABC News reported on Friday. “A few months later, she got sick. She was depressed. … She was hospitalized.”

An officer at Washington’s Metropolitan Police headquarters confirmed that Carey was the driver of the black Infiniti coupe involved in the incident, but declined to provide further details.

Secret Service officials confirmed that the child in the car was the driver’s daughter.

A lawyer for the Carey family, Eric Sanders, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Friday, but a person who answered the phone at this office said he would be issuing a statement on the family’s behalf.

Outside the Stamford, Conn., building where Carey had lived, most neighbors said they knew little about the woman. But one man, a 59-year-old resident of the building who would only identify himself as O.V., said she had been behaving unusually recently.

“She seemed nice, but was very erratic lately, was acting very strange,” he said. “She seemed like she was OK one minute, and then wasn’t making any sense the next.

“She would often speed her car in and out of the parking lot here, and that was something that really concerned me,” he said.

The incident, which came as Congress was debating how to resolve the current shutdown of the federal government, was initially reported as a shooting. But law enforcement sources said the woman did not shoot a gun and that there is no indication she had one.

FBI and Homeland Security officials on Friday continued their search of Carey’s Stamford home.

Two officers were hurt in Thursday’s incident. One was a Secret Service officer who was struck by the suspect’s car outside the White House, Donovan said.

The other was a Capitol Police officer whose car struck a barricade during the mid-afternoon chase, which ranged over about a mile and a half and lasted just a few minutes, officials said.

Security was tight near the Capitol after Thursday’s incident, which came just three weeks after a government contractor opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, about 1.5 miles from the Capitol, killing 12 people and wounding three others before he was shot dead by police.

In 1998, a gunman burst through a security checkpoint at the Capitol and killed two Capitol Police officers in an exchange of fire that sent tourists and other bystanders diving for cover. The suspect, Russell Eugene Weston Jr., was not charged with a crime because of apparent mental instability.


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