Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Ct., was the woman behind the wheel of the black Infiniti who was shot dead in Washington, D.C., after ramming a barricade outside the White House before leading the Capitol police on a harrowing car chase.

Carey had her 1-year-old daughter in the car with her, strapped into a car seat in the backseat of the sedan. When she drew police attention after flattening the barricade, she plowed through officers and made her way down Pennsylvania Avenue. Once she crashed at Second Street, N.E., she removed herself from the vehicle and was shot and killed by police.

Carey’s involvement in the incident came as a surprise to those closest to her, including her sister Amy Carey. “That’s impossible. She works, she holds a job,” she said upon learning that her sister was a suspect, according to the Washington Post. “She wouldn’t be in D.C. She was just in Connecticut two days ago, I spoke to her.. .  I don’t know what’s happening. I can’t answer any more.”

Others who knew Carey, including college friend Angela Windley, share in the sister’s shock. “She was really just a sweet and nurturing person,” she said, adding, “She could be sort of conceited, like she knew everything, but that was the most negative thing you could say about her.”

Windley also noted that she never knew Carey to have strong political convictions or to have any struggle with mental illness. She also shared that she knew her friend to be a good driver, not one to get lost or accidentally run into a barrier. Why she would have been in D.C. that day is a question Windley couldn’t answer, she also couldn’t understand why Carey would have had her child in the car.

Carey’s mother, Idella Carey, revealed that her daughter did suffer from post-partum depression after the birth of her daughter. "She had post-partum depression after having the baby," Idella told ABC News, referring to the child’s August 2012 birth. "A few months later, she got sick. She was depressed…. She was hospitalized." Like Windley, however, she doesn’t understand why her daughter would have been in Washington.

During the events of Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol building was temporarily placed on lockdown amidst specualtion that there was a shooter at large. One police officer was injured in the car chase.

– Chelsea Regan

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