La police s'interrogeait vendredi sur les motivations d'une automobiliste tuée après une course-poursuite dans les rues de Washington entre la Maison Blanche et le Congrès qui a entraîné la fermeture temporaire du parlement et provoqué une brève panique.

La police menait l'enquête sur cette femme, noire, selon les services secrets, qui transportait son bébé -- miraculeusement indemne -- dans sa voiture, tandis que plusieurs médias évoquaient une dépression post-partum.

En tout début d'après-midi, une voiture de sport -- à bord de laquelle se trouvait également le bébé de sexe féminin âgé d'un an -- a tenté de franchir une barrage près de la Maison Blanche, à environ 2,5 km du Congrès, a précisé le chef de la police du Capitole, Kim Dine, écartant d'emblée la piste terroriste.

Sur les images d'une vidéo diffusée par les chaînes américaines, le coupé noir, à l'arrêt, est mis en joue par une demi-douzaine d'agents. Puis, sans trop de difficultés, le véhicule s'extrait du barrage en reculant et des voitures de police se lancent à sa poursuite.

Pris en chasse, le coupé se dirige vers le Capitole, qui abrite les deux chambres du Congrès où les élus américains tentent de se mettre d'accord sur un budget qui permettrait de mettre fin à la paralysie gouvernementale.

La femme qui était au volant de la voiture est morte après avoir été atteinte par des coups de feu, a annoncé la chef de la police de Washington DC, Cathy Lanier, qui a refusé de donner davantage de précisions sur la suspecte. Deux policiers ont également été blessés.

Pendant la course-poursuite, des coups de feu ont été tirés à deux endroits, a précisé Mme Lanier, quand la voiture a d'abord foncé sur un véhicule des services secrets puis lorsqu'elle a terminé sa course contre un barrage de la police près du Capitole.

"Nous n'avons aucune information qui laisse penser que (cet acte) est lié au terrorisme ou qu'il puisse s'agir d'autre chose que d'un incident isolé", a indiqué Kim Dine, chef de la police du Capitole.

Deux chaînes de télévision, CBS et ABC, et le quotidien Washington Post, ont indiqué que cette femme, nommée Miriam Carey, était une assistante dentaire de 34 ans de la ville de Stamford (Connecticut) souffrant de dépression post-partum.

"Elle est en dépression post-partum depuis la naissance de sa fille" en août dernier, a déclaré à ABC la mère de cette femme, Idella Carey.

"Quelques mois après la naissance, elle est tombée malade. Elle était déprimée et a été hospitalisée".

La police a indiqué que la voiture avait des vignettes du Connecticut.

"Restez calfeutrés"

L'incident a provoqué un bref moment de panique à Washington, où la police à bouclé le Capitole et enjoint les employés à "fermer les portes et fenêtres et à s'en éloigner".

"Rentrez! Rentrez!", ont lancé les agents de la police du Capitole en pressant les sénateurs éberlués à trouver refuge à l'intérieur du Capitole. Plusieurs élus ont raconté à l'AFP avoir entendu des coups de feu.

Juan Vargas, un représentant de Californie, se trouvait à l'extérieur du Capitole lorsqu'il a entendu "ce qui semblait être des bruits produits par une voiture. Cela n'avait pas l'air d'être des coups de feu". "Ensuite j'ai reçu un appel de mes assistants qui m'ont dit qu'il fallait que je sois prudent car des coups de feu avaient été tirés".

Les sénateurs Roger Wicker et Bernie Sanders ont quant à eux assuré à l'AFP avoir entendu quatre à six coups de feu à proximité d'une annexe du Sénat.

A intervalles réguliers, un message diffusé par haut-parleurs invitait les employés du Congrès et les élus à "rester calfeutrés" à l'intérieur du bâtiment. "On a vu des gens se jeter par terre, pour leur protection", a dit le sénateur Sherrod Brown.

Par dizaines, des policiers armés ont alors été déployés dans les rues adjacentes. L'alerte a été levée au bout d'une demi-heure.

La Maison Blanche a également été bouclée temporairement.

Le 16 septembre déjà, Aaron Alexis, un ancien de la Marine, avait tué 12 personnes dans un bâtiment de la Navy, au sud de Washington, avant d'être abattu.

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  • Police cordon off the U.S. Capitol after shots fired were reported near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on October 3, 2013. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People take cover as gun shots were being heard at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on October 3, 2013. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A damaged Capitol Hill police care is surrounded by crime scene tape after a car chase and shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A woman driving a black Infiniti with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday, then led police on a chase that ended in gunfire outside the Capitol, witnesses and officials said. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • A policeman runs after shots fired were reported near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2013. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A man runs for cover as a police officer takes a shooting position at the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The US Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A U.S. Capitol Police Officer runs while reacting to a call of shots fired on Capitol Hill October 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A view of the scene with a US Capitol Police car (top) and a black Infinity after a shooting on Capitol Hill October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Shots were reported as fired near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Capitol police respond to reports of shots fired at the U.S. Capitol. October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Capitol police locked down the facility during the incident. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  • A Capitol Police officer runs through the first floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3,2013, during the lockdown order following a shooting on Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hll and near the Supreme Court. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • An evidence marker is placed near a car following a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Evidence markers are placed near a Capitol Police vehicle following a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • A Capitol Hill police officer takes photos of the crime scene after a car chase and shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A woman driving a black Infiniti with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade Thursday, then led police on a chase that ended in gunfire outside the Capitol, witnesses and officials said. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • An evidence marker is placed not far from a car following a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Police react on Capitol Hill October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC, after shots fired were reported near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A police officer stands near black Infiniti with a Connecticut license plates, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after a reported shooting. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Capitol Hill police officers respond to a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Police and federal agents converge on the scene of a shooting on Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill near the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Police respond to a reported shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

  • Capitol Hill police officers respond to a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • U.S. Capitol police respond to reports of shots fired at the U.S. Capitol. October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Capitol police locked down the facility during the incident. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Seen from the U.S. Capitol, tourists flee as Capitol Police are seen outside of the Senate side of the Capitol on October 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. following reports of a shooting. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after what senators and journalists said were shots fired outside Washington's seat of Congress. 'We heard what was about four shots,' said Senator Bernie Sanders as tourists and lawmakers rushed into the building to take cover and police hurried to secure the area. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People run for cover as police converge to the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Capitol Hill police officers look at a car following a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • People run for cover as police converge to the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-SHOOTING-CAPITOL

    Capitol Police are seen in front of the Hart Senate Office Building following reports of a shooting on October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. A volley of shots rang out outside the US Capitol building on Thursday, sending lawmakers and tourists scattering for cover and triggering a massive security operation. Senators told reporters at the iconic Washington landmark, the seat of Congress, that they had heard up to six shots. Police sealed off the building as emergency vehicles converged at the scene. About half an hour after the incident began, the security lockdown at the Capitol was eased and the doors reopened. AFP Photo/Jim Watson (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People run for cover as police converge to the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Police respond to a reported shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

  • People take cover as gun shoot being heard at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2013. The US Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Police officers attend to an injured police officer after shooting near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on October 3, 2013. A volley of shots rang out outside the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday, sending lawmakers and tourists scattering for cover and triggering a massive security operation. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Law enforcement personnel respond to reports of shots fired at the U.S. Capitol. October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Capitol police locked down the facility during the incident. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  • Capitol Hill police and medics take a shooting victim away on a stretcher at the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The US Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Capitol Hill police are seen at the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This view is from the Russell Senate Office Building shows police converging on the scene of a shooting on Constitution Avenue on Capitol and near the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • U.S. Capitol police respond to reports of shots fired at the U.S. Capitol. October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Capitol police locked down the facility during the incident. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-SHOOTINGS-CAPITOL

    Police cordon off the US Capitol after shots fired were reported near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2013. The US Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. About half an hour after the incident began, the security lockdown at the Capitol was eased and the doors reopened.AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Capitol Hill police are seen at the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Capitol Hill police and medics take a shooting victim away on a stretcher at the site of a shooting October 3, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Capitol Hill police on the scene of a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Capitol Hill police officers respond to a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • A Secret Service vehicle joins law enforcement officers on horseback from the US Park Police, as they shutdown access n Pennsylvania Ave., directly in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after a shooting on Capitol Hill. Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Tourists are kept away from the north side of the White House in Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., October 3, 2013, following reports of a shooting at the U.S. Capitol. The US Capitol was under security lockdown Thursday after what senators and journalists said were shots fired outside Washington's seat of Congress. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBI agents in SWAT gear respond to reports of shots fired at the U.S. Capitol. October 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Capitol police locked down the facility during the incident. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-SHOOTING-CAPITOL

    Capitol Police are seen in front of the Hart Senate Office Building following reports of a shooting on October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. About half an hour after the incident began, the security lockdown at the Capitol was eased and the doors reopened. AFP Photo/Jim Watson (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A U.S. Park Police helicopter is loaded on the Mall in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, with a victim from a shooting. Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • A U.S. Park Police helicopter is loaded on the Mall in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, with a victim from a shooting. Police say the U.S. Capitol has been put on a security lockdown amid reports of possible shots fired outside the building. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Police are seen in front of the Hart Senate Office Building on Constitution Avenue following reports of a shooting on October 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. About half an hour after the incident began, the security lockdown at the Capitol was eased and the doors reopened. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Capitol Police and first responders are seen in front of the Hart Senate Office Building following reports of a shooting on October 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. About half an hour after the incident began, the security lockdown at the Capitol was eased and the doors reopened. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Seen from the inside of the U.S. Capitol, Capitol Police respond to reports of a shooting outside of the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol on October 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. 'We heard what was about four shots,' said Senator Bernie Sanders as tourists and lawmakers rushed into the building to take cover and police hurried to secure the area. Emergency vehicles converged on the scene, focused on the north side of the iconic landmark, where an AFP photographer saw visitors scattering and ducking for cover. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Capitol Hill police officer talks on a radio after a report of a shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • A Capitol Police Officer directs people away from a door on Capitol Hill October 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Jack Reed

    Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. watches at left as a Capitol Hill police officer puts on a his body armor after a reported shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. A police officer was reported injured after gunshots at the U.S. Capitol, police said Thursday. They locked down the entire complex, at least temporarily derailing debate over how to end a government shutdown. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)