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Was police shooting of unarmed woman outside Capitol justified?

• NBC News

New details emerged Friday about the final moments of an unarmed woman motorist who was shot to death by police outside the U.S. Capitol, but unanswered questions left room for debate on whether the shooting was justified.

Law enforcement officials who briefed NBC News on the case said that officers fired a total of 26 rounds at the driver, 34-year-old Miriam Carey of Stamford, Conn., who never left her vehicle. 

Washington, D.C., police, who apparently were not involved in the shooting, are investigating whether U.S. Capitol Police and Secret Service officers complied with department policies on the use of deadly force in the killing of Carey on Thursday after a high-speed chase that began at the White House.

Most law enforcement agencies have policies that allow the use of deadly force only when officers have reason to believe that they are threatened by death or serious physical injury, raising questions about the gunfire that officers of the Secret Service and Capitol Police directed at her black Infiniti. 

“There are definitely some major questions here," said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor of law at John Jay College, who has studied the issue of the use of deadly force. Among the key ones, he said, were what threat the officers believed Carey posed at the time they fired the shots

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