SAN DIEGO (CBSLA/WJZ/AP) — A San Diego woman was shot and killed Wednesday when a mob of pro-Trump rioters rushed the U.S. Capitol building, causing lawmakers to flee and shelter in place during the Electoral College vote certification.
CBSLA has identified her as 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt. She was shot by a plainclothes Capitol police officer after breaching the Capitol and trying to enter the House Chamber, according to acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee.
Babbitt previously lived in Huntingtown, Maryland in Calvert County. At that time, she worked at a nuclear power plant, according to Exelon.
“Ms. Babbitt was employed at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant from 2015 to 2017, and Exelon Generation policy prohibits the disclosure of any additional information related to former employees,” the company told WJZ in a statement Thursday afternoon.
It’s unclear what her job was at the plant.
A Twitter account under Babbitt’s name identifies her as a veteran, Libertarian and supporter of the Second Amendment. She frequently retweeted comments by the president and his supporters about Wednesday’s gathering and their discredited claims of election fraud. Her last comment, posted Friday, read, “Jan 6, 2021” with an American flag and thumbs-up emojis.
She is described as a strong Trump supporter. The shooting is being investigated by M.P.D.’s internal affairs unit, which is responsible for investigating all officer-involved deaths in Washington, D.C., even those involving other agencies.
Babbitt appeared to view pleas to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as an affront to her personal freedoms. She backed a recall drive against California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has imposed strict stay-at-home orders.
“Mask Free Autonomous Zone Better Known as America,” read a large sign on the front door of a pool service business she ran with her husband in Spring Valley, near San Diego. No one answered the door Thursday at the business or the couple’s home, a modest duplex in San Diego.
In August 2016, Babbitt was charged with reckless endangerment for hitting a woman’s car three times in Calvert County, Maryland, and pursuing her through the streets in what’s described as “road rage.” She was acquitted months later.
Babbitt was among the rioters who smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, forcing members of Congress to hide, Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund said. Rioters “actively attacked” law enforcement with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants and “took up other weapons against our officers,” he said.
CRISIS ON THE CAPITOL COVERAGE:
- FBI Seeking Public’s Help To Identify Pro-Trump Rioters Who Rushed U.S. Capitol
- Gov. Hogan Says ‘America Would Be Better Off’ If President Trump Is Removed Or Resigns
- 9 Marylanders Arrested, 82 Total, So Far After U.S. Capitol Riot; DC Police Chief Identifies Dead
- Calls For Removal Of Rep. Andy Harris After Alleged Scuffle On House Floor During Election Certification Vote
- Lawmakers Vow To Investigate Police After U.S. Capitol Breach
- PHOTOS: Trump Supporters Clash With Police
- Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger Calls On Lawmakers To Invoke 25th Amendment, Remove President Trump From Office
- ‘We Love You, You’re Very Special’: President Trump Tweets Message, Later Removed, To Rioters Storming The U.S. Capitol
- ‘Dangerous Coup Attempt’: Maryland Lawmakers, Forced To Shelter In Place Amid Riots At Capitol, Blast Trump: He ‘Needs To Stop This Now’
Three other people, a woman and two men, died from medical emergencies during the incident in the Capitol area. They are identified as 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips of Ringtown Pennsylvania; 55-year-old Kevin Greeson of Athens, Alabama and 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland of Kennesaw, Georgia.
Eighty-two arrests were made after the pro-Trump mob breached the building Wednesday afternoon and fourteen DC police officers were injured.
Police recovered two pipe bombs– one at the DNC and the other at the RNC– and a cooler with a long gun and Molotov cocktails on Capitol grounds.
D.C. was under a curfew until 6 a.m. Thursday morning. The Capitol was cleared later Wednesday evening but the group did not adhere to the curfew at first and had to be arrested or escorted out of the area.
Now, this incident is being called “an act of domestic terrorism,” by some, including a University of Maryland professor who says he believes the political consequences are going to be “dramatic.”