SAN DIEGO — A San Diego woman was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon when pro-Trump rioters breached the U.S. Capitol building, authorities confirmed Thursday.
Ashli Babbiit, 35, was killed in the shooting Wednesday afternoon inside the Capitol building as she joined other rioters in storming the complex, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said.
“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 in a written statement. “Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries. She has been identified as Ashli Babbitt.”
Sund said the unidentified officer who shot Babbitt was placed on administrative leave, per department policy, and the officer’s police powers have been suspended. The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department is also investigating the shooting.
Babbitt’s husband, Aaron, told FOX 5 Wednesday that he believed his wife was killed in the chaos at the Capitol. However, he said he had yet to hear from authorities on the East Coast.
Aaron Babbitt said Ashli — a San Diego native who grew up in Lakeside — spent 14 years in the military between the Air Force and the D.C. National Guard.
Babbitt was from Huntington, Maryland, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said in a news conference Thursday. Aaron Babbitt said the couple moved to Ocean Beach about three years ago.
Contee said the woman was shot by one Capitol police officer with a service weapon after protesters breached the fencing at approximately 2:46 p.m. She was transported to a local hospital where she died, Contee said.
The rioters stormed the Capitol Wednesday afternoon as Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. Lawmakers have since reconvened to continue the process.
Babbitt said his wife went to Washington D.C. to take part in Wednesday’s protest, where she met up with friends. He said he sent her a status check message about 30 minutes before the shooting and never heard back.
“She loved her country and she was doing what she thought was right to support her country, joining up with like-minded people that also love their president and their country,” he said.
Babbitt added, “She was voicing her opinion and she got killed for it.”
Multiple videos from the scene showed Babbitt draped in a Trump flag climbing through a shattered window just before a gunshot rings out. The woman falls back to the floor and others in the crowd attend to her.
Online records and Babbitt’s Facebook page identify her as the CEO of Fowler’s Pool Service and Supply Inc. in Spring Valley, which she co-owned with her husband.
Babbitt’s Twitter page features and re-tweeted numerous politically oriented posts in support of Donald Trump. One picture on the page shows her at a pro-Trump boat rally that was held in San Diego last September.
Her final Twitter post, made Wednesday, said, “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 was one of four people who died at or near the Capitol Wednesday, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said. Three other people suffered apparent medical emergencies.
Babbitt’s ex-husband, Timothy McEntee, told The Washington Post that she served tours of duty with the Air Force in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was deployed to Kuwait and Qatar with the National Guard.
“I feel absolutely terrible and sick to my stomach about it,” McEntee told the paper. “She was never afraid to speak her mind and in a way this (attending Wednesday’s rally) was her way of speaking her mind.”