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October 5, 2013

Official: Woman in DC chase delusional

STAMFORD, Conn. — A woman who was shot to death outside the U.S. Capitol after trying to ram her car through a White House barrier had been under the delusion the president was communicating with her, a federal law enforcement official said Friday.

The woman’s family said she had been suffering from postpartum depression with psychosis.

Miriam Carey’s killing at the hands of police Thursday was Washington’s second major spasm of deadly violence involving an apparently unstable person in 2 1/2 weeks.

Interviews with some of those who knew the Stamford resident suggested she was coming apart well before she loaded her 1-year-old daughter into the car for the 275-mile drive to Washington, D.C.

Carey had suffered a head injury in a fall and had been fired as a dental hygienist, her former employer said.

The federal law enforcement official, who had been briefed about the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said investigators were interviewing Carey’s family about her mental state and examining writings found in her condominium.

“We are seeing serious degradation in her mental health, certainly within the last 10 months, since December, ups and downs,” the official said. “Our working theory is her mental health was a significant driver in her unexpected presence in D.C. yesterday.”

Carey believed President Barack Obama was communicating to her, the official said.

“Those communications were, of course, in her head,” the official said, adding that concerns about her mental health were reported in the last year to Stamford police.

Stamford police Chief Jonathan Fontneau said his officers had gone to Carey’s home in the past, though not in response to any crime. He gave no details.

The federal official said investigators believe that Carey drove straight to the nation’s capital and that the violence unfolded immediately upon her arrival.

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