The woman who was shot and killed Wednesday during a riot that ransacked the Capitol has been identified as an Air Force veteran from California.
The San Diego television station KUSI first reported that the husband of Ashli Babbitt said she was the person who was shot at the Capitol.
The Air Force on Thursday confirmed that Babbitt, who served under the name Ashli Elizabeth McEntee, was a security forces airman who achieved the rank of senior airman, or E-4, while on active duty.
Babbitt, according to published reports, was part of a mob that, after being incited by President Trump’s fraudulent claims of a stolen election, overran barricades and stormed Congress as lawmakers were debating the counting of electoral college votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s election.
Video of the shooting circulating on social media show a group of rioters massed at barricaded doors, with smashed glass, inside the Capitol, as sounds of pounding can be heard. A police officer in plain clothes behind the barricade shoots Babbitt as she tried to climb through a broken window of one of the doors, with a Trump flag tied around her waist, and she falls back onto the marble floor as she quickly began to bleed.
The Washington Post reported that Babbitt was shot in the shoulder.
In a statement Thursday, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund confirmed Babbitt was the woman shot and killed.
Sund said that “thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions ... stormed the United States Capitol Building” and attacked law enforcement with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants and took up other weapons.
“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,” Sund said. “Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.”
Sund said the officer is now on administrative leave, as is standard Capitol Police policy after such a shooting, pending the result of an investigation by the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington DC.
The Metropolitan Police declined to comment.
According to service records released by the Air Force Personnel Center, Babbitt served more than 12 years in different parts of the Air Force. She was on active duty from April 2004 to April 2008, and was a reservist from October 2008 to July 2010, AFPC said. The Air National Guard said she was a guardsman from July 2010 to July 2016. (The Air Force initially said Babbitt’s Guard service ended in November 2016.)
AFPC said later on Thursday that Babbitt deployed overseas on multiple occasions, including to Afghanistan in 2005, Iraq in 2006, and the United Arab Emirates in 2012 and 2014. Babbitt’s awards include the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
She last served on active duty at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas as a security forces controller, a job that usually entails manning gate security at Air Force installations.
The Air National Guard said that when Babbitt separated, she was with the 113th Security Forces Squadron of the DC Air National Guard, which is stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Her rank at the time of separation from the Guard was not immediately available.
A Twitter account under Babbitt’s name included pictures and posts indicating she was a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Babbitt’s post also indicate she was a strong supporter of Trump, believed the election was stolen from him, and planned to attend the protests Wednesday.
Babbitt retweeted a post from Trump attorney Lin Wood, which has since been removed, calling for Vice President Mike Pence to resign and be charged with treason.
She also responded to a tweet Tuesday from another Trump supporter that implied flights into D.C. were being improperly canceled to try to limit attendance on Wednesday.
“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 wrote.
She also posted at least three videos in recent years denouncing politicians such as Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi and Duncan Hunter. In two videos posted in November 2018, Babbitt rages at her camera while driving her vehicle about border security and lawmakers’ inability to stop illegal immigration.
Babbitt said in one of those videos that she was originally from Lakeside, California, near San Diego, and Hunter used to be her congressman.
Babbitt tweeted another video in December 2018 about the border and the migrant caravan and wrote “BUILD THE WALL.”
She tweeted photographs of herself wearing a red Make America Great Again hat with hashtags and slogans supporting Trump, as well as slogans and hashtags associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory. One post included a photo of her wearing a QAnon shirt.
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.