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Capitol Police have identified the woman who was shot and killed by one of their officers yesterday during the pro-Trump rioting at the Capitol. Ashli E. Babbitt was an Air Force veteran from the San Diego area. She was among the rioters who stormed the Capitol building. Police say the officer involved is on leave, pending an investigation. No details have been released about how she was shot. NPR's Eric Westervelt has more.
ERIC WESTERVELT, BYLINE: The 35-year-old California native served in the U.S. Air Force in both active duty and in the Air Guard and Reserves from 2004 to 2016, according to military records. Babbitt did multiple overseas tours, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, achieving the rank of senior airman. She was married to fellow service member Timothy McEntee for 14 years before splitting up in 2019. McEntee told NPR in an email today that in those overseas deployments, Ashli, quote, "saw firsthand how others were treated and was grateful to have the freedoms we have in America." She had remarried recently, and she and her new husband ran a pool supply company in Southern California.
And according to her many social media posts, she was a fierce supporter of President Trump and embraced many of his conspiracy theories and serial falsehoods about election fraud. And those posts also show she was a follower of QAnon. That's the convoluted far-right conspiracy theory that believes Trump is fighting a shadowy group of deep-state child abusers. The Anti-Defamation League describes QAnon as popular among right-wing extremists and with marked undertones of anti-Semitism and xenophobia. She recently retweeted calls for Vice President Pence to resign and face charges of treason.
McEntee, her former husband, says Babbitt was known for her outspoken views. He wrote to NPR, "she had a personality you either loved or hated. She wasn't apologetic about it. She was proud of it, just like she was proud of her country," end quote.
In video footage inside the Capitol yesterday, Babbitt is seen wearing a backpack and Trump flag around her waist among a large group of fellow rioters. When she approaches a window, a gunshot rings out, and she falls back onto the floor bleeding. She died shortly after in a hospital. In some of Babbitt's last social media messages, she retweeted QAnon posts and its code phrase about the storm. She wrote, nothing will stop us. They can try and try and try, but the storm is here, and it's descending upon D.C. in less than 24 hours, dark to light. Eric Westervelt, NPR News.
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