Stockdale native in midst of Capitol Hill shooting scene

October 7, 2013
A damaged Capitol Hill police car is surrounded by crime scene tape after a car chase and shooting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday. A woman driving a black Infiniti with a young child inside tried to ram through a White House barricade, then led police on a chase that ended in gunfire outside the Capitol, witnesses and officials said. - Associated Press

In the minutes after the Capitol Hill shooting last week, the phone of Stockdale native Michael Ridgway was flooded with text and voicemail messages.

As the drama played out on live television Thursday, friends and family saw Ridgway carry away a 1-year-old who was in the car of Miriam Carey, the 34-year-old Connecticut woman who led police on a chase from the White House to the Capitol before she was shot to death by officers. Some media reports have indicated that Carey suffered from postpartum depression or had delusions that President Obama was stalking her.

Ridgway, 35, has been on the Capitol Hill police force for 11 years, feeling compelled to journey to Washington, D.C., after 9/11.

“I felt that’s where I needed to be,” he said.

A graduate of California Area High School and trained paramedic, he was just about to punch out about 2:30 p.m. Thursday when a report that shots had been fired outside the Capitol went out.

When he arrived on the scene, he pulled the child out of the car and went with her in an ambulance to a nearby hospital. “That’s when my paramedic training came in,” Ridgway explained over the phone from his suburban Washington, D.C., home Sunday afternoon.

Though he declined to discuss specifics of the incident, since it is under investigation, he said it was one of the most frightening he had witnessed during his time on the Capitol police force. Much of his time is spent engaged in routine patrols and motorcade duty, though he was threatened by a visitor three years ago in a foiled “suicide by cop” bid.

He is a son of Larry and Linda Ridgway, who live in Stockdale. Many of the calls and text messages he received Thursday were from people in the borough.

With a population estimated at just more than 500, “it’s a small town, so everybody knows everybody else,” Ridgway said.

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from George State University in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s in popular culture studies from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has covered the arts and entertainment for the O-R, and also worked as a municipal beat reporter. He now serves as editorial page editor.

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