Ashli Babbitt was an Air Force veteran from San Diego who was shot and killed by police as people rushed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
A graphic live stream video showed the 35-year-old Babbitt lying almost motionless on the ground inside the Capitol building as supporters of President Donald Trump milled in a hallway and roamed around the chambers of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. Babbitt was killed as she tried to climb through a window near the House chamber as members of Congress scrambled to safety.
Babbitt’s husband told KUSI-TV in San Diego that she was a “strong supporter of President Trump, and was a great patriot to all who knew her,” in the words of the station.
Her Twitter page contained references to QAnon, which is a fringe extremist right wing conspiracy theory movement that believes pedophiles are embedded in high-ranking governmental positions. “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!” she wrote. She had retweeted QAnon accounts and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
In one photo posted to social media, she wears a QAnon shirt. Another woman wrote, “Landing in DC. Here to do God’s work. Save the Republic. #StoptheSteal.” Babbitt responded to that tweet on January 4, 2021, by writing, “I will be there tomorrow! Gods speed!”
One photo on Twitter showed her wearing a MAGA hat. “We are out here enjoying our Saturday!!! together we can #MAGA #KAG God bless president trump and god bless America 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 #Trump2020 #4MoreYears,” she wrote.
Graphic video captured the moment Babbitt was shot. A shot rings out as she tries to climb through a window into the Speaker’s lobby. That occurred as people, who had already breached the U.S. Capitol building, clustered in a hallway before the lobby door. Warning: The video is disturbing.
Warning, this video is graphic:
There was confusion about who shot Babbitt at first. NBC News reported that a member of law enforcement shot Babbitt, according to law enforcement officials. The New York Post reported that the officer was with the Capitol Police. DC police later said the officer, who has not been named, was a plainclothes Capitol police officer.
It was a day of rioting and unrest. NBC also reported that law enforcement discovered improvised explosive devices on the Capitol grounds. One was “safely detonated” at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee.
Some people were using the name Roberta Paulsen for the victim and calling her a martyr, in a reference to “Fight Club.” However, the shot woman is not named Roberta Paulsen; her name is Ashli Babbitt, according to KUSI news in San Diego, which broke the news of her identity. They called her Ashli Babbit, but social media shows the correct spelling of her name is Ashli Babbitt. Some people also incorrectly were referring to her as Ashley Babbitt.
An armed standoff took place for a time outside the U.S. House front door on the afternoon of January 6. The mayhem unfolded as Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump held a rally at which he railed against the election results, falsely labeling them a fraud and declaring himself the victor. Even Republican officials in various swing states have declared that Trump did not win the election after conducting audits and investigations.
As Congress was debating the Arizona electoral votes, upon the objection of GOP lawmakers, some people outside suddenly began fighting with Capitol police and then breached the door of the Capitol building, eventually making it onto the floor of the Senate. Multiple Capitol Police officers were also injured. As the people who broke into the building holed up inside the Capitol, the graphic video showed the woman lying, bloodied around the mouth, on the floor. Although some Trump supporters on social media are claiming antifa was involved in the breach of the Capitol, evidence that has emerged of the identities of people thus far shows some to be QAnon and Trump supporters, based on their social media accounts and live streams.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ashli Babbitt, Who Was Shot in the Chest, Was a ‘High Level Security Official’ When She Served in the U.S. Air Force
According to KUSI, Babbitt was “a 14-year veteran, who served four tours with the US Air Force, and was a high level security official throughout her time in service.”
CNN reported, via sources, that the woman was shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds and was initially in critical condition. She later died, however.
In the live stream video, Trump supporters shout that someone was killed and the video pans to the woman lying with blood coming out of her mouth. “Oh f***, they killed her,” says one person.
After the shooting, Trump released a video in which he declared that people should go home but stated that he loved them.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump said.
“It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anyone hurt. We’ve never had such a thing like this that happened where they can take it away from all of us. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen how others are treated who are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”
2. Babbitt Owned a Pool Services Company in San Diego
According to her Facebook page, Babbitt was the “Owner/Operator at Fowlers Pool Service and Supply Inc.” She lived in San Diego, was from San Diego and was married. Photos show her with her husband.
In the video, Trump supporters began speaking of Civil War as the woman lay shot on the ground.
“Welcome to the start of a Civil War,” a man says in the video. He says, falsely as it turned out, that Secret Service shot her. He also said she didn’t have a weapon; authorities have not said either way. Another man says, “The Capitol Police have killed a Patriot woman.” Again, it wasn’t the Capitol Police, as it turned out. One man with a megaphone urged people not to damage the building. “This is not our house. That’s why we’re here,” retorted another man.
“He said go home; this is our home,” says a man. Another man says, “Donald Trump told everybody to go home. Let’s go home.”
A video from MSNBC showed the woman being taken out on a stretcher.
The shooting happened outside of the House of Representatives chamber. Photos from inside the House chamber showed U.S. Capitol Police with guns drawn pointing out the doors toward demonstrators.
3. An Eyewitness Says Babbitt ‘Rushed Through the Windows’
A man from New Jersey spoke to a journalist and said he was an eyewitness. He had a bloody hand. “We had stormed into the chambers inside, and there was a young lady who rushed through the windows. A number of police and Secret Service were saying get back, get down and get out of the way,” he said.
He continued, “She didn’t heed the call. As we kind of raced up to grab people and pull them back, they shot her in the neck. She fell back on me. She started to say she was fine, it’s cool. Then she started moving weird and blood was coming out of her neck and mouth and nose. I don’t know if she’s alive or dead anymore.”
The man said that “riot police came in and started ushering us out with their sticks and stuff.” Asked how they got in the Capitol, he said, “We tore through the scaffolding, through flashbangs and tear gas, and blitzed our way in through all of the chambers. Just trying to get into Congress and whoever we could get into and tell them we need some kind of investigation into this, and someone might be dead. That’s not the kind of government we can have.”
He said he wasn’t injured. “It could have been me. She went in first.” He said, “This cannot stand anymore … they don’t represent anybody. And now they will kill people.” Asked who he meant, he said, “Police, Congressmen and women. They don’t care. They think we’re a joke. $2,000 checks were a joke to them.” He said people were filming the marchers earlier and laughing at them. Once they were inside “guns came out.” He added: “We’re at a point now where it can’t be allowed to stand.”
4. On Social Media, Babbitt Touted Trump, Trashed Concerns About COVID & Indicated Distrust in Government
Babbitt filled her social media with references to Trump and QAnon.
“I will be in DC on the 6th! God bless America and WWG1WGA,” she wrote on Twitter, making a QAnon reference. She wrote that the California governor had instituted “commie rule.” She responded to a tweet criticizing Nancy Pelosi’s $600 stimulus check support, writing, “It is a smack to the gut for everyone of us…you think ppl are waking up yet?… THEY DONT GIVE A F*** ABOUT US…all they want is power and money …. we must unite!”
She retweeted Georgia lawyer Lin Wood. In December, she wrote, “COVID IS A F****** JOKE!” In September, she wrote, “Trump 2020 landslide! Let freedom ring!”
Another woman wrote on Twitter, “Serious question: Has the government started a war against it’s own people?” Babbitt responded on December 20, “We are not their ppl… they are owned-bought, paid for, enslaved… you can’t sell your soul to devil without a price. They chose, so have we. Dark to light! Let freedom ring and god bless America! God knows, god sees and he is incoming! Nothing can stop what is happening.”
According to Daily Mail, Babbitt was once charged with “reckless endangerment, malicious property damage and dangerous driving. She was acquitted of the first charge and found not guilty of the others.” The charges related to an incident reported by her husband’s ex, who, Daily Mail reports, also filed for restraining orders, which were granted, accusing Babbitt of “filing false police reports against her, lying under oath in court, and harassing her with midnight phone calls.” In the incident, the ex accused Babbitt of chasing her down a Maryland highway and rear ending her.
A mob tried to break into the chamber while members of Congress, staffers and press were inside.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, told Fox News he heard a call of shots fired:
“You break it, you buy it,” one man said in the live stream video. “Hey where’s the Senate floor. They said go to the Senate floor.”
A man in the video declared those inside the Senate as “patriots” and declared the election was a fraud. “They’re trying to get people out.”
They were clustered in a hallway, waving flags and shouting “whose house, our house.”
5. Dramatic Scenes Erupted in the Capitol; a Man Even Climbed the Dais of the U.S. Senate Chambers to Shout That Trump Won the Election
The death occurred as dramatic reports emanated out of the U.S. Capitol building. It was locked down, Vice President Mike Pence was ushered to safety, Congresspeople rushed off the floor, debate about certifying the election was stopped, and there were reports of smashed glass, gunfire and people running around the Senate floor. Capitol police officers were injured.
In one dramatic scene, a man climbed the dais in the Senate chambers to declare that Trump won the 2020 presidential election.
“They’re in the chamber. One is up on the dais yelling ‘Trump won that election!’ This is insane,” Igor Bobic, a reporter with the Huffington Post, wrote about the Trump supporters.
“Several people got on to a scaffolding outside Senate, took it to second floor, which looked like the area where McConnell’s office is located, and started banging on windows,” wrote Bobic.
Elijah Schaffer, a reporter for Blaze TV, shared a video and wrote, “Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building, tearing down 4 layers of security fencing and are attempting to occupy the building — fighting federal police who are overrun. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Thousands, police can’t stop them.”
There are reports that Trump supporters were “shooting into the chamber” of the House at the U.S. Capitol building. “Guns drawn in the chamber,” wrote journalist Matt Fuller. Authorities have not confirmed those accounts.
There were reports of injuries to multiple Capitol police officers.
Shortly before the violence began, Trump held a rally in which he railed at elections officials, urged Pence to reject the election results and declared that America no longer has “free and fair” elections. He called some Republicans weak, and he falsely insisted that he won the presidential election, despite even Republican officials in various states, including Georgia, saying that audits and investigations showed that he did not.
Watch video of the Trump supporters as they initially began to storm the Capitol building here:
Here’s additional video:
Julie Tsirkin, a reporter for NBC News, wrote that authorities were evacuating the Library of Congress. She shared an alert that read, “Remain calm and move in a safe manner to the exists” and “Close doors behind you but do not lock.”
She said that the Cannon office Building was also being evacuated. Then, the entire Capitol building went into lockdown.