The pro-Trump insurrectionist who died when she was shot in the neck inside the Capitol after she joined a mob that stormed the halls of Congress on Wednesday was identified as Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt.
Babbit traveled to Washington, DC, with thousands of people to attempt to overthrow Joe Biden's election win. According to her social media accounts, she was an ardent Trump supporter and follower of QAnon, the mass delusion that preposterously claims Trump is fighting a deep state cabal of child abusers.
The shooting occurred shortly after dozens of Trump supporters breached the government building, where lawmakers had been meeting to certify the presidential election until they were evacuated amid an attempted coup. After hours of riots inside the halls of Congress, President-elect Joe Biden was officially certified as the winner of the presidential election early Thursday morning.
DC Police confirmed that the woman was shot by Capitol Police.
On Thursday, the chief of Capitol police issued a statement saying, "As protesters were forcing their way toward the House Chamber where Members of Congress were sheltering in place, a sworn USCP employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult female. Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries."
A graphic video posted to Twitter showed that Babbitt was attempting to climb over a barricaded entryway to gain access deeper in the building when a USCP officer opened fire.
Per the agency's policy, the USCP employee has been placed on administrative leave.
“Ashli was both loyal as well as extremely passionate about what she believed in,” brother-in-law Justin Jackson told NBC San Diego. “She loved this country and felt honored to have served in our Armed Forces. Please keep her family in your thoughts and respect their privacy during this time.”
Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran who held the rank of senior airman and worked as a security forces controller, according to the Air Force Personnel Center. She entered active duty service on April 6, 2004 and served for four years at Dyess Air Force Base in Taylor County, Texas. She then went on to serve as a member of the Air Force Reserve from October 2008 until July 2010 and the Air National Guard until November 2016.
She was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Reserve Meritorious Service Medal and nearly a dozen other commendations, according to the Air Force.
Posts on her social media show she donned QAnon T-shirts at Trump events in San Diego, used hashtags common to the movement like #WWG1WGA, and repeatedly retweeted QAnon accounts.
Most recently, she repeatedly retweeted Lin Wood, a conspiracy theorist and an attorney who pushed false theories about mass fraud during the presidential election.
In angry videos, she railed against California Democratic politicians.
“I'm like really heated all of a sudden,” she says in a video posted while she is visibly driving. “I’m so sick about of these politicians in this goddamned state. I can't take it anymore. They’re all worried about what Trump is doing. How about we worry about what the hell you’ve done?!”
“I am so tired of this,” she says. “I am woke, man.”
In one of her last tweets, Babbitt replied to a tweet saying that many flights to DC were canceled.
“Nothing will stop us … they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours … dark to light!” Babbitt responded.
Jason Leopold is a senior investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He is a 2018 Pulitzer finalist for international reporting, recipient of the IRE 2016 FOI award and a 2016 Newseum Institute National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame inductee.