Temple student Cariann Hithon traveled to Miami to celebrate her 22nd birthday with a friend. After hitting several cars in her BMW and running over an officer, she was shot and killed by Miami police on Sunday.
Investigators say Hithon, a former Hampton University honors student, was drinking heavily on the fatal night.
According to witness accounts, the Bowie, Md., native stopped her car after ramming into the other vehicles in South Beach. One cop instructed the student to exit the vehicle before she began driving the car and running over the other officer. Cops then fired three shots into the vehicle. Hithon was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where she later died.
“It played out like a movie set with people running, screaming, car crashes, gunshots, an injured officer lying on his back on the ground—all within a minute,” retired Miami-Dade homicide Detective John Butchko told the Miami Herald. Butchko’s car was one of the vehicles Hithon hit.
Another man who witnessed the incident, Miguel Garcia, said Hithon’s passenger, a friend from her hometown church, got out of the young woman’s vehicle after she ran into the other cars. Garcia said he looked confused but eventually re-entered the BMW upon Hithon’s insistence.
“It’s hard to express the amount of pain and distress that we feel,” Hithon’s father and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Cary Hithon told NBC Miami. “I can’t explain why she wouldn’t have listened.”
“That kind of activity is not rational, I can’t explain why she wouldn’t have listened to commands,” he continued. “As a father and as a man of God, obviously I want the truth to come out.”
He told the Miami Herald his daughter’s behavior on Sunday was “out of character.”
Hithon, who recently transferred to Temple, was studying political science and philosophy at the Philadelphia university. Her father said she was an aspiring lawyer. She formerly served as a legal intern at the Offices of Central Services in Prince George’s County. He said she was “going to be the attorney to save the world.”