The Columbine shootings and the 9/11 terrorist attacks led to changes in police shoot-to-kill policies. The family of Miriam Carey, shot and killed following a car chase, say police over-reacted.
The family of Miriam Carey, who led police on a rampaging car chase from the White House to the Capitol before being shot dead by police on Thursday, says the 34-year-old dental assistant had problems, but posed no real threat to anybody.
The deadly shot came after Ms. Carey, with her one-year-old daughter in the back of her black Infinity coupe, crashed into White House barricades, sideswiped at least two police cars, crashed into gates at the Capitol, and then stepped out of her car.
Diagnosed with mental health issues, Carey had told friends she believed President Obama was stalking her. She was supposed to have been in Brooklyn on the day she rammed the White House gate.
The tragic shooting, which came during a particularly tense week in a capitol recovering from the Navy Yard mass shooting and as leaders argued about how to end a partial government shutdown, has shined a light on what some say is a troubling progression in “shoot-to-kill” police protocol.
The Columbine High School killings in 1999 and the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington two years later dramatically changed US police shoot-to-kill procedures. In the case of active shooters, police no longer wait to muster backup, but are told to charge after shooters and disable or kill them as soon as they can.
In bomb-sensitive Washington, the Capitol Police in 2004 toughened their shoot to kill protocol in the cases of suspected suicide bombers, demanding officers not wait to shoot.
On Friday, Carey’s family said she was neither a suicide bomber nor an active shooter, and thus the decision to shoot her was unnecessary. They also faulted police procedures, saying officers had a chance to stop Carey without killing her, and should have been more careful given there was a child in the car. It’s not known if officers knew about the child, who was uninjured.
“Deadly force was not necessary,” said Carey’s sister, Valerie Carey, a retired New York Police Department sergeant. “They could have rammed the car or disabled the car.”