A woman driving a black Infiniti sedan struck a security barricade outside the White House and fled to Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon, where pursuing police shot and killed her. One officer was struck by her vehicle at the White House and another was injured in the course of the pursuit.
The driver was a “black adult female” and “is deceased as a result of her injuries sustained in the shooting,” the United States Secret Service said late Thursday. Her identity is “being withheld at this time, pending verification and notification of next of kin.”
A Capitol Police spokesperson said in a press conference following the incident that a one-year-old baby found in the car after the chase has been hospitalized. The only shots fired during the episode came from law enforcement and not the suspect, per the police spokesperson.
The car being driven by the suspect, a late-model black Infiniti, has Connecticut license plates. Police are searching a home in Stamford, Conn., in connection with the incident, per local media. Authorities are also planning to speak with the suspect’s sister in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to CNN.
A U.S. Capitol Police Officer injured in the incident was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center and later released.
The incident prompted a tense but brief lockdown of the Capitol building, where a chaotic scene unfolded after multiple people heard several gunshots. People ran frantically and officers swarmed as Capitol Police issued a “shelter in place” order for offices on the House side of the building.
“Close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows,” the police said in an emergency alert.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), who was on the House balcony at the time, told Politico he heard “five or six” gunshots.
“Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom!” he said. “Then sirens went off, cops started going everywhere yelling ‘get inside, get inside!’”
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told reporters there’s no indication the episode was “related to terrorism.”
B.J. Campbell, 69, a tourist visiting from Portland, Ore., said he saw the black car drive past White House security. Officers began “banging on the car, yelling at her,” Campbell told TIME. One tried to use a bicycle rack to box in the vehicle, but the car spun around and rammed into the rack and hit the officer, who was not wearing a uniform. The officer, whom the Associated Press identified as a Secret Service agent, was knocked onto the hood of the car and rolled off onto the street, according to Campbell. However, another witness said the officer got up and did not appear to be injured.
“There was a lot of yelling at the driver to stop,” said Joe Brophy, the manager of a pedicab company, who saw the incident. The car sped off down Pennsylvania Avenue heading east, followed within 30 seconds by several police cars, according to witnesses.
There was a heavy police presence just west of the Capitol near the U.S. Botanical Garden, as tourists moved away from the Capitol. Secret Service was on high alert and Pennsylvania Avenue was closed off near the White House.
“The President was briefed on the reports of gunfire on Capitol Hill this afternoon,” a White House official said Thursday. “White House staff are in touch with law enforcement and monitoring the incident.”
The Senate Sergeant at Arms had also advised people on the Senate side of the building to shelter in place if in an office, or go to the nearest office if not. The House of Representatives, which had been in session when the shooting started, reconvened by approximately 3:30 p.m.