The family of the woman who was shot to death Thursday outside the U.S. Capitol after trying to ram her car through a White House barrier said Miriam Carey was a carefree, loving, law-abiding citizen who did not deserve to be killed.
Speaking to media late Friday outside their Brooklyn, N.Y., home after returning from Washington, where they identified Carey's body, her two sisters said they were "still very confused, as a family, as to why she’s not alive.”
"My sister did not deserve to have her life shortened at this early stage,” said Valerie Carey, a former sergeant with the New York Police Department.
Amy Carey-Jones said her sister suffered from post-partum depression with psychosis, but added that she was receiving proper treatment for her condition.
Courtesy Dr. Barry Weiss
Miriam Carey, the woman who led police on a chaotic chase in Washington and was shot to death.
"There was no indication that she was unstable,” Amy Carey-Jones said, adding that she had spoken to Miriam, 34, on the phone Monday.
"We don’t know why Miriam ended up going to D.C.," Amy Carey-Jones said. "We don’t know what was in her mind at that time.”
With her one-year-old daughter in the car, the Stamford, Conn., resident drove into the driveway leading to the White House at about 2:12 p.m. Thursday, hit some temporary fencing, then backed up, striking a Secret Service officer, who suffered minor injuries.
Law enforcement officials told NBC News that Secret Service officers then pursued her at high speed southeast on Pennsylvania Avenue, cornering her car near Garfield Circle and the Capitol Reflecting Pool a few minutes later.
Video shot by the U.S.-funded Alhurra news network shows six officers with guns drawn approaching the stopped car and attempting to order the driver out of the vehicle. But Carey whipped the car around, scattering the officers.
Officers fired nine shots after Carey circumnavigated Garfield Circle, then exited onto Constitution Avenue, officials said.
The chase ended minutes later at the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds, near the U.S. Supreme Court building, when a barrier stopped the Infiniti near Second Street Northeast. The officials said she got stuck on a median by a Capitol Police guard post, where she was shot dead.
The sisters said the family had not been properly notified by government officials about Miriam’s death, and added they had identified her body by looking at a photograph and not actually seeing her body.
Valerie Carey said the family learned of Miriam’s death from the media.
“It is a shame that my mother, my sister and I had to find out from reporters who called us,” she said. "Shame on the Metropolitan D.C.-area personnel for still not informing us of what has happened to my sister.”
Valerie Carey added: “My family is seeking answers, we have questions, there’s a mother who has lost a daughter. My sister and I, we have lost a sister. And my niece has lost her mother."
The former police sergeant said she doesn't understand why authorities responding to the incident would shoot an unarmed woman who had a young child in her vehicle.
The sisters also said they don't have much information about their niece, who they said has been taken by Child Protective Services.
"We don’t know if she’s going to be with us or with the father,” Amy Carey-Jones said.
The family quashed reports in the media that Miriam may have thought President Barack Obama was stalking her.
"She’s not a terrorist, was not a terrorist," Valerie Carey said. "To my knowledge, she did not believe that the president…was going to do her any harm.”
The sisters said they have not decided whether they will take any legal action, but a representative for the family said the Careys plan on pursuing their own investigation, including an autopsy of Miriam's body.
NBC News' Michael Isikoff contributed to this report.
Secret Service, Capitol Police radios couldn't communicate during DC chase
Was police shooting of unarmed woman outside Capitol justified?
First published October 4 2013, 9:35 PM