A WOMAN driving a car with a young child inside was shot dead when she tried to ram through a White House barricade outside the Capitol building.
Republican Michael McCaul, who claimed he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said the woman was killed. Asked if she was armed, he replied: "I don't think she was. There was no return fire."
Police described it as an isolated event and saw no indications of terrorism.
Tourists watched the shooting unfold outside the Capitol as lawmakers inside debated how to end the government shutdown. Police quickly locked down the entire complex and both houses of Congress went into recess.
Authorities performed several minutes of CPR on the woman according to witnesses before she died.
The pursuit began when a car with Connecticut plates sped onto the driveway leading to the White House over a set of lowered barricades.
When she couldn't get through a second barrier, she spun the car in the opposite direction, flipping a Secret Service officer over the bonnet of the car as she sped away, according to a tourist.
A fleet of police and Secret Service cars then chased the car towards Capitol Hill.
The Senate's top security official, Terrance Gainer, said a child was taken from the car to a hospital but said he knew of no harm to the youngster.