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Sisters of Capitol Hill driver: She was 'fleeing' police out of fear

Oct. 7, 2013 at 8:38 AM ET

Video: Miriam Carey’s sisters, Amy Carey Jones and Valarie Carey, tell TODAY’s Matt Lauer that their sister was not delusional and never talked critically about President Obama. They believe Miriam was frightened after being surrounded by police near the White House last week and that her speeding off was a way to flee the confusion.

The sisters of the woman fatally shot after a high-speed car chase last week in Washington said Miriam Carey simply feared for her life when she led authorities through the heart of the nation’s capital.

“If you hear gun shots, it’s like, ‘I’m afraid. I don’t want to be here. I want to get out of here. I have a baby in a car,’” Valarie Carey told Matt Lauer Monday on TODAY. “My sister was fleeing. She was trying to figure out how to get out of there.”

Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn., used her vehicle to crash through a White House barricade last Thursday. The incident took place just weeks after a gunman terrorized the city at the Navy Yards and days after a federal government shutdown put the entire area under high alert.

Carey then led police on a chase that took them from the White House through a high-security area around the city, striking a police officer in the process. The chase ended near the Capitol when police fatally shot her. Carey’s daughter, who was in the backseat, was not injured. 

Carey’s sisters, who confirmed that Carey's daughter is 13 months old, and not 19 months old as widely reported, say that the child is currently in a safe place.

They also confirmed that Miriam was being treated for postpartum depression, but said she was under doctor’s supervision and was in the process of being taken off her medication.

Beyond that, her mental capacity was fine, according to her sisters. Despite what authorities have said, their sister didn’t have a political agenda with the White House or anybody else, they said.

“She never talked badly about President Obama," ” Amy Carey Jones said. "She was not walking around delusional, which is what we want the public to understand. She was not delusional.”

Video: Capitol police and the Secret Service fired at Miriam Carey, the woman who rammed her car into a security checkpoint near the White House last week, and now investigators are looking into whether shooting was justified. Most police departments prohibit deadly force at a moving car, but there are exceptions. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

Both sisters said they continue to wait for police to reach out to them and hope to learn more about the details surrounding Miriam’s death. They said they initially learned about the tragedy from reporters who called them seeking information and believe authorities are holding back critical information.

"I feel that things could have been handled a lot differently," Carey Jones said. "And maybe there was some bit overreaction or negligence, we don't know. We still feel that there was maybe another story than what we’re being told."

Eric Sanders, an attorney for the Carey family, joined them on TODAY and said the nation currently lives under a “siege mentality.” While the specter of terrorism weighs over many cities, “that doesn’t excuse the police behavior,” he said.

“The fact that someone may be a threat, there’s certain protocols you’re supposed to follow before you use force,” he said.


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