A US Air Force veteran from San Diego has been identified as the woman who was shot and killed inside the US Capitol when Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building and clashed with police.
Ashli Babbit was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon after chaotic scenes broke out when dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. She died several hours later.
Babbit’s husband confirmed her identity to San Diego news outlet KUSI. He said Babbit was a 14-year veteran who served four tours with Air Force as a ‘high level security official’.
The husband said Babbit was a fervent supporter of Trump and ‘a great patriot to all who knew her’, KUSI reported.
It remains unclear who shot Babbit as the Metropolitan Police Department in DC conducts an investigation into her death.
Two witnesses to the shooting spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday evening and suggested that Babbit may have been shot by a police officer when she tired to climb through a broken window into an area that officers were blocking off.
One of the witnesses, John Sullivan, recorded a video of the aftermath, showing police with guns drawn and Babbit lying in a pool of blood in a stairway inside the Capitol.
Ashli Babbitt (left and right) has been identified as the woman who was shot and killed inside the US Capitol when Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building and violently clashed with police in a bid to stop Joe Biden’s victory being certified
Paramedics tend to Babbit moments after she was shot inside the Capitol on Wednesday
Witness John Sullivan (right) spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday evening and suggested that Babbit may have been shot by a police officer when she tired to climb through a broken window into an area that officers were blocking off
Sullivan is the founder of the left-wing activist group Insurgence USA. He said he was not at the Capitol as part of the protest but did not specify what exactly brought him there.
Describing the moments leading up to the shooting, Sullivan said protesters were trying to get into the main entrance of the chamber when they came upon two guards who refused to move.
The group then went down another hallway and used flag poles and other items to break windows to get into the chamber before a group of police emerged.
‘All we see is these guns coming out of the doorway, just guns, and all you can see is their hands. You could not see faces,’ he said.
‘Right when I saw that I was yelling to people: “Guys, there is guns, you don’t want to go through there. They’re going to shoot.”‘
Babbit ignored Sullivan’s plea and went ahead anyway, he said.
‘The second that she climbed through the window, she got shot right in the neck area and fell backwards,’ he said.
Video showed Babbit climbing through a broken window seconds before she was shot
A witness looks down at Babbit collapsed on the ground in shock seconds after she was shot
‘I just remember, like, the sense of shock and sorrow that somebody just died and did not need to die because she didn’t have a weapon and she was not violent.’
Cooper asked: ‘Just to be clear was it a police officer who shot her?’
Sullivan replied: ‘I don’t know if it was police or private security guard. I assume it is police of everything that we have met up to that point.’
He said the area the protesters were trying to get into was completely blocked off with chairs and tables barricading the doors.
Sullivan also described trying to deescalate the situation by speaking to police officers before the shooting took place.
‘By no means am I there on the Trump side or the MAGA side, but I don’t want to see people get hurt unnecessarily especially when there should be a better way to go about it,’ he said.
‘I remember just coming up and seeing one of [the officers] crying and saying they want to go home to their kids,’ he said.
Meanwhile the protesters were yelling: ‘Let us in here, we are not trying to hurt you,’ he said.
Multiple police officers were reportedly injured during the violence that took over the Capitol grounds on Wednesday afternoon and continued well into the night.
Blood is seen on the floor after a woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol during a riot on Wednesday
Babbit is pictured at a Trump boat parade in San Diego in September in a photo from her Twitter account
Babbit frequently shared her support for Trump on Twitter
Dramatic images captured Babbit lying on the ground covered in blood after she was shot. She was rushed to a hospital and confirmed dead a few hours later.
Police have still yet to provide any information about who opened fire.
Babbit traveled to DC from her home in California without her husband, FOX 5 DC reported. Her mother-in-law told the outlet: ‘I really don’t know why she decided to do this.’
Wednesday’s chaotic scenes unfolded at about 3pm, soon after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters and encouraged them to march to the Capitol, where lawmakers were convened to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in the presidential election.
Dozens of protesters – many of them armed and most not wearing masks – breached barricades around the building and pushed past countless police officers to enter the Rotunda.
A small group managed to get into the chamber, where cowering lawmakers were told to put on gas masks as tear gas filled the air.
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while Trump supporters gather in front of the Capitol on Wednesday
The mostly maskless crowd flooded the halls of the Capitol with little resistance from police
Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress
Supporters of Donald Trump are seen inside the US Capitol after rioters breached security and entered the Capitol
One protester occupied the Senate dais and yelled: ‘Trump won that election’. Some protesters even occupied Pelosi’s office, sitting mockingly at a desk.
When the violence kicked off Trump took to Twitter and urged the protesters to ‘stay peaceful’. A few hours later he posted a video telling his ‘very special’ supporters inside the Capitol that he loves them and understands their pain but urged them ‘to go home’.
Meanwhile Biden called for the ‘mob to pull back’ and said the uprising bordered on sedition.
The National Guard was quickly deployed to help police enforce a 6pm curfew in DC. Hundreds of protesters remained on the Capitol grounds after the curfew went into effect.
Just before 8pm lawmakers who had been whisked to safety during the siege began arriving back at the Capitol to resume the certification proceedings.
The lawmakers were seen flanked by armed guards as they made their way into the Capitol.
A Trump supporter posed alongside a statue of President Gerald Ford inside the Capitol
A protester is seen hanging from the balcony in the Senate Chamber
A supporter of US President Donald J. Trump sits on the desk of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Paramedics and protesters work together to transport a wounded man on a barrier near the Capitol
Police try to hold back protesters pushing into a doorway at the Capitol on Wednesday
National Guard members line up on the Capitol grounds as protesters continue occupying the area after curfew