The vast majority of big-city police agencies — including in the District — prohibit or strictly limit their officers from shooting at moving vehicles. But it’s unclear whether the Capitol Police or Secret Service violated their policies during the chase or the shootings.
Brian Leary, a Secret Service spokesman, declined to provide a copy of his agency’s use-of-force or chase policies. Lt. Kimberly Schneider, a spokeswoman for the Capitol Police, did the same.
Leary and Schneider declined to comment on the incident at all, including whether their officers knew that Carey’s 1-year-old daughter was in the car when they fired into it, killing Carey. The toddler was unharmed and is in protective custody as authorities work with Carey’s family to properly place the girl.
The shooting is being investigated by the D.C. police department’s Internal Affairs Division. The Secret Service and Capitol Police will determine whether officers followed their departments’ use-of-force policies. The U.S. attorney’s office will decide whether the agents broke any laws, a D.C. police spokeswoman said.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said investigators still do not know which agency’s officers fired at each location. Shots were fired at Garfield Circle, with the car moving, and again at the final spot, a guard shack on Maryland Avenue NE, with the car stopped.
Video from bystanders and media captured several important pieces of the afternoon chase, including the shots fired by police near Garfield Circle. But no pictures have emerged of the final confrontation.
Officials have not disclosed how or why agents opened fire after Carey crashed to a halt near the security booth.
But several experts said the shooting was justified, given the intensity and uncertainty of the chase and the fact that Carey tried to breach security at two potential and high-profile terrorist targets — the White House and the Capitol. Other experts questioned whether lethal force was needed.
Terrance Gainer, the U.S. Senate’s sergeant at arms who also has served as the chief of the Capitol Police and executive assistant chief of the D.C. police, noted the incident’s unusual circumstances. Particularly relevant, he said, was that Carey’s actions constituted a threat to the government. He also cited concerns about terrorism.