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Ocean Beach woman shot and killed during storming of U.S. Capitol was an Iraq War veteran

Melody Black from Minnesota visits a memorial set up near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., for Ashli Babbitt.
Melody Black from Minnesota becomes emotional as she visits a memorial set up near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., for Ashli Babbitt, an Ocean Beach resident who was killed in the building after a pro-Trump mob broke in Jan. 6.
(Getty Images)

Ashli Babbitt, 35, was shot as she tried to enter the House chamber.

The Ocean Beach woman shot and killed as she joined a mob of protesters storming the U.S. Capitol building in support of President Donald Trump was an Iraq War veteran who spent four years on active duty in the Air Force and additional time in military reserves.

Ashli Babbitt, 35, was a staunch Trump backer — so much so that she made the 3,000-mile trip to Washington, D.C., to join like-minded supporters Jan. 6 for what she hoped would be a political triumph giving the president a second term in power. The intruders stormed the Capitol as Congress was debating and signing off on states’ electoral votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Babbitt recently registered to vote as a Libertarian. Her social media accounts contain messages that indicate support for QAnon, which supports unfounded conspiracy theories.

This driver's license photo from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration shows Ashli Babbitt.
This driver’s license photo from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration shows Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer inside the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6.
(Courtesy of Calvert County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said a sworn Capitol Police officer shot Babbitt as she and other protesters tried to force their way into the House chamber, where members of Congress were sheltering in place.

Video posted online shows a person trying to climb through the busted-out window of a door to the Speaker’s Lobby, which leads to the chamber. A gunshot cracks and the person falls backward. Babbitt’s family recognized her in the widely seen video before they got official confirmation that she had been shot.

Babbitt was taken to a hospital, where she died.

WASHINGTON - Two previously unreported video clips obtained by The Washington Post shed new light on the fatal shooting by police of Trump supporter and Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt as she and other rioters stormed the U.S.

On Jan. 1, Babbitt posted on her Twitter account, @CommonAshSense, that she was headed to the Capitol. On Jan. 5 — the day of her flight — she tweeted: “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!”

The “storm” is a term sometimes associated with QAnon and indicates a reckoning.

Journalist Will Carless, who covers extremism and emerging issues for USA Today, sent a series of tweets Jan. 6 noting that he happened to have sat next to Babbitt on the flight from San Diego to Baltimore. He tweeted that she was kind enough to help as he tried to make room for his items and take his middle seat.

“It’s a little sappy, but situations like this should remind us that there is more beyond politics,” Carless tweeted in a thread. “The person sitting next to you on a flight, even if they’re wearing a mask you disagree with, is still a person.”

One Twitter user replied to Carless with a photo of Babbitt on the plane wearing a face mask emblazoned with “Trump 2020.”

On Jan. 7 in the far-right precincts of the internet, which houses the conspiracy-laden information of a stolen election and deep state and QAnon, her death was being discussed as an unjust killing and a kind of martyrdom.

Before someone pulled her Facebook page down, hundreds of strangers had left comments, some heralding her as a martyr, others condemning her as a traitor.

Babbitt’s husband, Aaron, told Fox 5 TV that he sent his wife a message about 30 minutes before the shooting but did not hear 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. “She was voicing her opinion and she got killed for it.”

In recent months, her Twitter account included a photo of her at a Trump boat parade in a shirt reading “We are Q” and the phrase “WWG1WGA,” QAnon’s acronym for “Where we go one, we go all.”

In one post last year, she referred to COVID-19 as the “controla virus.” “We are being hoodwinked. The sheep need to wake up,” she wrote.

In another, she wrote, “TRUMP IS TELLING THE TRUTH. MSM [mainstream media] are liars.”

Military officials confirmed that Babbitt spent four years in the Air Force, from 2004 to 2008. She achieved the rank of senior airman, and her last job was as a security forces controller at a base in Texas, according to the Air Force press office. Her awards and decorations included the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Babbitt — whose service records are under Ashli McEntee, the last name of her first husband — went on to serve in the Air Force Reserve for two years and then the Air National Guard for six years.

During her time in the service, she deployed eight times as of 2014, when she was stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. She served as a mentor for less-experienced airmen, she told a Department of Defense publication before deployment to an undisclosed site in Southwest Asia in 2014.

“I think we can offer comfort and knowledge,” she said in the interview.

She left the Guard in 2016. Near the end of her time, Babbitt began working at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland, according to a spokeswoman for Exelon Corp., the energy company that runs the plant, which sits along the Chesapeake Bay about 60 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. Babbitt worked at the plant between 2015 and 2017.

In February 2020, she tweeted that she was born and raised in San Diego and had just moved back to the region after 14 years. She and her husband — they married in 2019 — owned and operated Fowler’s Pool Service & Supply Inc. in Spring Valley.

A sign against wearing masks against the coronavirus covers the door of Fowler's Pool Service & Supply Inc. on Jan. 7.
A sign against wearing masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus covers the office door of Fowler’s Pool Service & Supply Inc. in Spring Valley on Jan. 7. Ashli Babbitt owned and operated the business with her husband.
(Gregory Bull / AP)

On Jan. 7, the front door of the business displayed a sign against wearing face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19. The sign starts with “Mask Free Autonomous Zone, Better Known as America.”

Court records show the business was sued twice, in San Diego and New York, in the past several years over contract issues. In San Diego she was a defendant in a suit filed by EBF Partners over a merchant cash advance agreement. EBF alleged that after buying $65,250 in future business, the company stopped payments.

EBF sued in 2018. Court files indicate that the pool company did not respond to requests for discovery, mediation and to meet about the dispute.

Court-ordered sanctions also were ignored, according to the files.

Lawyers for Babbitt alleged that the agreement amounted to an illegal and usurious loan. Courts have held that such arrangements don’t amount to loans and are not bound by usury laws.

Ultimately, in July 2019 a default judgment of $71,232 was levied against the company. Court records show that as recently as September, EBF was still trying to collect.

San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer Alex Riggins, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.


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