BREAKING: Shooting and Car Chase at U.S. Capitol Distracts Attention from the GOP-Induced Shutdown

Confusion reigned for a few hours in Washington this afternoon, when an emergency different than the GOP-induced government shutdown unfolded.

Initial reports said that the capitol was in lockdown and orders were to "shelter in place." There was a "active shooter" on the hill.

What actually happened turned out to be slightly different, but the chaos and fear were real.

NBC evening news described the following sequence of events, a description backed up by some video shot on the scene. A woman driving a black sedan hit a security barrier at one of the checkpoints around the White House. When security personnel converged on her car with guns drawn, she sped off, striking an officer in the process.

Capitol police gave chase through the streets of Washington, and the woman ran red lights, hit speeds of 80 mph and headed for the capitol building. At some point the police noticed that there was an infant in the car as well. It was also during this initial chase that an officer was injured in a crash.

The woman's car crashed, and officers once again surrounded her car with guns drawn. The woman, identified as Miriam Carey, 34, of Stamford, CT, was shot and killed. The one-year-old child is said to be okay, and in protective custody. According to NBC, Carey has a history of mental issues. Capitol police say they view the incident as isolated and not connected to any larger terrorist plot.

Senators, press and visitors to Washington all heard multiple gun shots. And for a while an atmosphere of "lockdown" and crisis pervaded. Both the Senate and House were in session despite the ongoing government shutdown. As many noted, the Capitol Police who responded to the situation are not being paid.

The House went back in to session, and for a millisecond agreed on something: that the Capitol Police had been heroic.

Then the returned to their impasse, and the Republican refusal to accept that Obamacare, as they call it, is the law of the land. 

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