Woman shot dead after trying to ram security barrier at White House

A woman has been shot dead after she led police officers on a car chase that ended in gunfire near the US Capitol in Washington.

Witnesses said shots rang out after the woman driving a black Toyota Infiniti attempted to smash through a barricade close to the White House.

The woman then fled, and was pursued by police who caught up with her near the Capitol Building.

Video footage showed officers with guns drawn attempting to get the driver out of the vehicle on the west side of the Capitol Building before she then flees again, with officers in chase.

The car is then understood to have crashed near the Hart Senate Office Building, on Capitol Hill.

Police seen moving through US Capitol. Pic: Marc Schloss
Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said a one-year-old child was pulled from the car after the woman was shot.

She was later pronounced dead. Police revealed in a press conference that shots occurred in two locations.

The first series took place at the junction of 15th Street and East Street, close to Pershing Park.

The second set happened on Maryland Avenue NW, close to the Hart Senate Office Building.

In between, the car went down Pennsylvania Avenue, to the US Capitol, before escaping along Constitution Avenue where it was stopped as it entered Maryland Avenue.

First responders are seen aiding a victim at the scene
Ms Lanier said two officers were injured and were taken to hospital. One was an officer with the Capitol Police Department. The other was with the Secret Service.

The Capitol police officer, said to be a veteran of 23 years, was recovering in hospital, but was “doing really well.”

“He’s going to be fine,” said Capitol Police Chief Kim Vine.

It is understood he was injured when the vehicle he was in while chasing the suspect, hit a barrier in front of Capitol Hill.

No details were released about the Secret Service officer, other than he too was not badly hurt.

The woman was confirmed dead by Ms Lanier, but she said police were not releasing any details about the suspect.

She would not comment on whether the woman was of Somali origin. Capitol Police Chief Vine said it did not appear that terrorism was a motive, but Ms Lanier said nothing has been ruled out.

The child, believed to be girl, was later taken to hospital.

Witnesses said at least 20 police cars chased the Toyota toward Capitol Hill, where the car crashed outside the Capitol.

A lockdown was put in place at the Capitol and other federal buildings, but lifted about an hour after the shots rang out.

Sky News US correspondent Amanda Walker, who is in Washington, said she heard a series of shots within minutes of each other before police swarmed the area.

She said: “It was about 2.20pm local time and we heard a series of gunshots and then there was a brief pause for around five minutes.

“Then we heard further gunshots and that’s when immediately we heard this cacophony of sirens, police cars and various units going around this area that is constantly so heavily-guarded.”

Senator Bob Casey told reporters he was walking from the Capitol to the Senate Russell Office Building across the street when he noticed several police officers driving fast up Constitution Avenue on motorcycles.

He said: “Within seconds of that we heard three, four, five pops.” He said he assumed they were gunshots.

Television footage showed at least one person being removed from the scene on a stretcher.

As a warning was sounded, the House of Representatives abruptly went into recess and lawmakers left the chamber floor.

The House had just finished approving legislation aimed at partly lifting the government shutdown by paying National Guard and Reserve members.

People standing outside the Supreme Court across the street from Congress were hurried into the court building by authorities.

The White House was quickly locked down after the incident at Capitol Hill and the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the compound was closed to pedestrians.

Secret Service said the procedures were precautionary.

In a notice distributed by email, the US Capitol Police advised everyone to “close, lock and stay away from external doors and windows”.

The reports come two weeks after a deadly shooting at the nearby Navy Yard and amid a government shutdown.

Source: sky news.