Driver in fatal D.C. car chase, shooting identified as CT dental hygienist

The driver in a bizarre and fatal Washington D.C. incident Thursday has been identified as Miriam Carey, a 34-year-old woman who was shot to death after ramming her car into a barricade near the White House, then leading police on a car chase toward the U.S. Capitol, injuring an officer.

Here’s what we know about Carey:

She was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Hostos Community College, and then Brooklyn College in 2007, with a degree in health and nutrition science. She had four sisters, one of whom told The Washington Post:

“That’s impossible. She works, she holds a job,” said Amy Carey, who confirmed that her Stamford-based sister drove a black car. “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.”

Carey was a dental hygienist who worked for a practice called Advanced Periodontics in Hamden, Connecticut, before being terminated from the job in August 2012. Dr. Barry Weiss, who works at the practice, told local station WVIT that Carey was an “average employee,” but distant from the other members of the staff, and the subject of some complaints from patients that she was “rough.”

The doctor told the station regarding the dismissal: “well, I don’t want to go into any specific situations. But when just trying to talk to her about some issues that we had with her, we wanted her to see things the way we saw it, and try to change a few things. She was very reluctant to do so.” He added that in January 2012, she “had a fall” and sustained head trauma, which kept her out of the office for “two or three weeks” and it was during the time she was in the hospital that she learned she was pregnant.

Weiss said he believed the pregnancy put stress on Carey, and that it was “unplanned.” Another doctor from the practice, Dr. Brian Evans, told the New York Daily News that Carey seemed happy about the pregnancy.

Weiss said he and other members of his staff learned of her death on television, and were “shocked,” saying, “absolutely nothing in her behavior would led us to think that this would happen.”

The child, a daughter, now about 18 months old, was believed to be the toddler in the car with Carey during the incident. The unharmed child was removed from the car by police after officers opened fire on the vehicle, killing Carey.

Friends who set up a Facebook page to remember Carey were expressing disbelief online Thursday night. The page administrator, who is located in Phoenix, Arizona, wrote:

She wasn’t political, so keep your politics off this page. This isn’t about Obama or anyone else. It’s about a tragedy. Have some class.

The chase and shooting are still under investigation, and police have not released a motive, although sources with knowledge of the investigation have indicated Carey may have had “mental health issues.

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