A 20-year-old woman who authorities said nearly struck police officers as she fled an attempted traffic stop outside the U.S. Capitol grounds Wednesday morning, prompting police to fire at her vehicle, has been charged with numerous crimes.
Authorities identified the woman as Taleah Everett and said she had no fixed address. Records show she may have an address in Southeast Washington and relatives in Prince George’s County, who could not be reached Wednesday.
Police said that Everett was charged with seven counts of assault on a police officer, two counts of destruction of property, fleeing, leaving the scene of an accident and lacking a valid driver’s permit. She is expected to appear in court Thursday.
No one was hit by the gunfire during the rush-hour incident, police said. The shooting is being reviewed by the U.S. Capitol Police Investigations Division and the U.S. Capitol Police Office of Professional Responsibility.
Eva Malecki, a Capitol Police spokeswoman, said the incident began about 9:20 a.m. at First Street and Independence Avenue SW, in front of a guard booth near the Rayburn House Office Building and the U.S. Botanic Garden. Officers saw a vehicle being driven in “an erratic and aggressive” way eastbound near the 100 block of Independence Avenue SW. Capitol Police officers tried to stop the vehicle, a black or gray sedan, Malecki said, but the driver made a U-turn and nearly struck several officers who were on foot. Police said the car hit at least one vehicle.
Police said the woman was taken into custody on Independence Avenue between First Street and Washington Avenue SW, where the gunshots were fired. The sedan was stopped in the right lane, near a concrete barricade that is embedded in the street and had been raised for the emergency. A photograph of the woman’s vehicle shows two bullet holes in the front driver’s side windshield.
“There is no evidence to indicate any nexus to terrorism at this point in the ongoing investigation,” Malecki said.
Zachary Yanta, director of a branch of the Texas State Farm Bureau, was with his wife in a cab, headed to a morning meeting with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), when they found themselves stopped in traffic outside the Rayburn building.
“All of a sudden, there was a vehicle that sped between our cab and the other two lanes of traffic,” Yanta said. The 58-year-old, who runs a ranch just outside San Antonio, said that the car was speeding and that there were marked and unmarked police cars behind it.
“I asked our driver, ‘What’s going on?’ ” Yanta recalled. “The cabdriver said, ‘They’re running, they’re running.’ ”
Yanta added: “It went by us so fast. Right after that, we heard one shot quickly followed by two rapid fires.”
Yanta said he and his wife got out of the cab and tried to get into the Rayburn building but that guards had closed the entrances.
“It was high anxiety,” said Yanta, who planned to discuss farming issues with Cuellar. “I didn’t get shaken up until I went into the building and realized what had transpired right in front of me.
“To be so close to something like that was very frazzling.”
The U.S. Capitol remained open during the incident and the police investigation. The Botanic Garden opened on time at 10 a.m.
In October 2013, a 34-year-old woman was fatally shot by police near the U.S. Capitol after a chase through the heart of the city. Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn., struck a barrier at a White House security checkpoint and then sped away in her black Infiniti to the Capitol.
That chase ended with officers firing shots outside the Hart Senate Office Building. Carey was struck, and police found a 1-year-old girl in the car. The girl was not injured.
In March of last year, a man calling himself a “prophet of God” was shot by a Capitol Police officer after he tried to enter the visitor’s center with a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun.
There have been several attempts this year to breach the White House grounds, and one man got as far as a rear portico. In addition, a woman has been accused of trying to scale the fence three separate times.
Jayne Orenstein contributed to this report.