“Their main concern should have been trying to keep that vehicle from moving, and then exposing themselves only adds to the danger and lessens their options in the long run,” Drago said.
Authorities were investigating why Miriam Carey, who lived in Connecticut, turned up in Washington on Thursday. A search warrant application for Carey’s car seeks bullet fragments, maps or other documents pertaining to the White House, alcohol or drugs, “and/or evidence of a mechanical malfunction or lack thereof.”
A federal law enforcement official said Friday that her mental health appeared to be deteriorating in the last year and that she was apparently under the delusion the president was communicating with her. The official was briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Her family said she had been suffering from postpartum depression with psychosis but was not dangerous. Carey-Jones said her sister had been on medication for postpartum depression but was being taken off the drugs under medical supervision.
“They told her she could get off medication,” Carey-Jones said, adding, “There were no indications she was unstable.”
Valarie Carey questioned the characterizations of her sister’s mental health and said Miriam Carey “did not believe the president or any government official was going to do her harm.”
But interviews with some of those who knew the Stamford, Conn., woman suggested she was coming apart well before she loaded her daughter into the car for the 275-mile drive to Washington. She had suffered a head injury in a fall and had been fired as a dental hygienist about a year ago, her former employer said. Carey’s mother, Idella Carey, told ABC News that she began suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth in August 2012 and was hospitalized but had no history of violence.
After Carey rammed the barricades at the White House, police chased her down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol, where she was shot. At one point near the Capitol, police say, she stopped her car abruptly, drove over a median strip and put the vehicle into reverse and refused to stop. She was then shot.
Carey’s daughter escaped serious injury and was taken into protective custody. The woman’s family hasn’t identified the child’s father. Gainer said he hasn’t seen any indication officers knew the child was in the car when they fired.
“There’ll be lessons to be learned from this,” Gainer said. “There’ll be recommendations to be made about, ‘Could we have done this, or should we do that?’”
Carey’s death comes less than three weeks after a shooting rampage in Washington that also involved an apparently unstable person.
On Sept. 16, gunman Aaron Alexis shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard before being shot by police. Alexis, a defense industry employee and former Navy reservist, said in writings left behind that he was driven to kill by months of bombardment with electromagnetic waves.