Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Washington Chase and Shooting

A woman with a 1-year-old girl in her car was fatally shot by police near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, after a chase through the heart of Washington that brought a new jolt of fear to a city already rattled by the recent Navy Yard shooting and the federal shutdown.
The car was registered to Miriam Carey, 34, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn., law enforcement officials said, adding that they believed Carey was the driver.D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said that the driver tried to breach two Washington landmarks and that the incident was not an accident. But officials also said it did not appear to be part of any larger or organized terrorist plot.
The chase began at about 2:15 p.m. at a White House security checkpoint, where the woman struck a barrier and a Secret Service officer with her black Infiniti. The woman then sped away from that fortified icon and headed straight for another: the Capitol.
During the chase, police officers opened fire twice, both times in areas busy with tourists and office workers. The Capitol itself was locked down, as a bitter debate over the government shutdown was interrupted by echoes of shots, officers with guns and an urgent order to “shelter in place.”
The end came outside the Hart Senate Office Building, at Maryland Avenue and Second Street NE. The woman’s car got stuck. Officers fired another volley. Then, moments later, an officer emerged with the girl and carried the toddler quickly away as new waves of officers arrived.
Authorities said the woman was not armed, and although the incident was first reported as a shooting at the Capitol, the only shots were fired by officers.


  1. "Authorities said the woman was not armed, and although the incident was first reported as a shooting at the Capitol, the only shots were fired by officers."

    "Secondly, Ms. Carey did have a weapon, a 3,000-pound motorized bludgeon, and she used it.
    Thirdly, the police, just like any other legally-armed citizen, had no idea who they were facing or what they were dealing with. That is, they were confronted with an attack by a stranger whose background they knew nothing about, and they had to make split-second decisions in the interest of personal and public safety. They weren’t getting their heads pounded against the pavement, but they could have been killed nonetheless, either by being run over or perhaps by a crude car bomb.
    Thursday’s incident was tragic, especially for the toddler who will grow up never knowing her mother, but probably always knowing how she died.
    But the incident did demonstrate that there are times when shooting unarmed people is the only way to prevent something far worse from happening."

    A moving vehicle can easily hold more destructive force than a bullet.

    1. Yeah, it CAN. But does that mean cops should go around shooting unarmed drivers who do erratic shit behind the wheel?

      It's the same argument you guys give for shooting a potential attacker prematurely. You're motto is better to be safe than sorry and you don't give a fuck about the life of the other person.

  2. Gotta love how some early reports were that a gun nut was trying to shoot up the White House and Capitol.

    As for whether this was overreaction or not, let's wait until we have more information. Right now, we have video where it looks like she's trying to run over cops and we have a story that's changed with the rapidity of the Naval Yard shooting.

    1. An unarmed person shot and killed for crazy driving is a pretty good bet for an overreaction. She probably went off her medication too fast and thought the District 9 aliens were after her.

    2. Mike,

      She managed to navigate a checkpoint near the White House, then rammed one of the barricades there. She then diverted to the Capitol, hit a barricade, and then a police box. That behavior, makes the situation look like a potential terrorist attack by carbomb. Yes, it turns out that wasn't the case, but can you not put yourselves in the cops shoes and see how they could think that?

      In hind sight, maybe she panicked after the first checkpoint, thinking she was being boxed in for abduction. Maybe she was trying to commit suicide by cop. We don't yet know, but either of those situations would look a lot like an attack to the cops on duty.

      Is it tragic? Absolutely! If she started driving erratically somewhere else, she may not have gotten shot. As is, she either had the bad luck to have her break when and where she did, or she intentionally went there looking for this reaction. The cops on scene can't tell that. They only know that they are protecting the White House and the capitol, that they have barricades and checkpoints so that people don't get too close, and when they do get within one layer, they know they're in a special zone with special rules for the President's and Congress' protection. If someone gets within that perimeter and starts acting like a threat, the cops will and should treat them as such.

      As long as the facts bear out their story as it currently stands, I can't find a place to fault them.

      I don't like stories where unarmed people get shot any more than you do. I especially dislike it when they're shot by police. I just can't see a different way to handle this with the sketchy facts we have on hand, but I'm waiting to see if there's anything else that comes to light.

  3. This woman was either delusional or seeking to commit suicide by cop. Either way, using a car in an attempt to get around barriers at the White House and the Capitol building isn't good for your health. Mikeb, you want to criticize the police in this incident, but that's why no one will ever hire you to work security.

  4. Isn't it possible that the president himself was in the White House at the time of the rampage?

    1. I don't think that matters in the shoot/don't shoot equation. And they were finally able to hit her when she hit the barrier at the capitol building.
      The weapons they carried aren't capable of reliably stopping a vehicle. For that, you'd need something shooting the .50BMG.

    2. The pistols definitely wouldn't be enough, but what would 12 Gauge slugs or AP rounds from a 7.62 do? Could they not do enough damage to the engine to stop it? Or are we still talking about it taking far too many shots to stop a vehicle in a timely manner?

    3. Tennessean, level 3 soft body armor will stop a 12 gauge slug. 7.62mm will disable a car so it will die, (oil and fluids drain out) .50BMG goes into the block and make the innards jam up and stop.
      Needless to say, shooting and missing the car would be very bad. And .50 might go through the engine and the rest of the car. Also bad.
      She thought the President was talking to her, drove nearly 300 miles and tried to ram the barrier at the white house, and hit several cops. Then during the chase tried to ram the barrier at the Capitol. Then started to try to drive off again. And then she was stopped.
      I'm glad the baby is ok. A shame the mom is dead, My biggest complaint is that for whatever reason, they weren't able to stop the car when she hit the barrier at the White House. For whatever reason, she was able to back out afterwards and continue to the Capitol.

    4. Thanks for the info--thought you might have some more practical knowledge on the topic.

      I did know that the slug could be stopped by body armor, but I was wondering if it would have enough brute force to crack the engine and cause a leak. Good to know that's not a realistic option.

      My thoughts on the outcome mirror your own. It's tragic enough she snapped and died, but would have been far more so had the baby been hit.

    5. My thoughts exactly. The difference is being able to stop a car eventually, vs right now. To stop it right now, you need the round to be powerful enough to snap crankshafts, pierce cylinder walls, etc.