The family of Miriam Carey (34), shot dead by Capitol Hill police on Thursday afternoon after a dramatic car chase from the White House, has questioned whether the police’s use of lethal force against her was justified.

Speaking to media on Friday, her sister said, “I do feel that law enforcement could have handled the situation a lot differently. Miriam was not firing any shots. There were no weapons. So we’re still very confused as a family as to why she is not alive.”

Police and the White House refused to answer questions about whether they thought law enforcement officers had acted appropriately or whether any of them had been suspended after the incident.

After Ms. Carey rammed several barriers and police cars along the way, injuring two officers, Capitol Hill police cornered and shot her dead even as her one-year-old daughter sat in the car. The child was unarmed.

On Friday, the family of Ms. Carey, who hailed from Stamford, Connecticut, denied she had a history of mental illness, as some officials were earlier quoted saying in media reports, adding that she was dealing with post-partum depression for which she was taking medication.

Her sister said that in a situation such as Ms. Carey’s, where a citizen was having a crisis or a moment “How do the people that are put in place to protect… help you? How do they figure out what is happening and operate in a way that they can contain the situation and give you the help that you deserve?”

The incident came at a time of tension in Washington. On September 16 a lone gunman, civilian contractor Aaron Alexis, had fatally shot 12 people and injured three others at the Navy Yard military facility.

Self-immolation death

On Friday news also broke that a man had set himself on fire on Washington’s National Mall, and had been rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. On Saturday morning a police spokesman said the man died of his injuries, adding that he was so badly burned that he would have to be identified through DNA and dental records. No motives have been ascribed to the self-immolation.

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