NORTH ATTLEBORO – The wife of a former local man has become a key figure – some say a martyr – in the deadly January 6 riot in the nation’s capital.
Ashli Babbitt, 35, an Air Force veteran who grew up in San Diego, was among the mob that stormed the Capitol that day after a rally led by the then president , Donald Trump.
A graphic video of Babbitt filmed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted – along with a host of other people – to break through a series of interior doors in the building began circulating on social media shortly after the event. She is seen falling and receiving first aid from men in tactical police uniforms. She later died in a Washington hospital.
Her husband Aaron grew up in North Attleboro and graduated from North Attleboro High School and still has family in the area.
Ashli Babbitt served in the military for 14 years. After leaving the service, she and her husband ran a swimming pool service company in her hometown of San Diego. In a story about her transformation into martyrdom for right-wing causes, the Washington Post reported, “She used her Twitter account to praise Trump, denigrate undocumented migrants and express support for the extremist QAnon ideology which is based on false claims. Her family said she was always political – she voted for President Barack Obama – but never more fervent than during Trump’s presidency.
Ashli Babbitt was one of four civilians who died in the assault on the Capitol as protesters tried to prevent members of Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Two have died of natural causes and a third died of amphetamine poisoning, according to the Washington, DC medical examiner’s office. A member of the Capitol Police, Brian D. Sicknick, died the next day of a stroke after engaging with the rioters. But it was Babbitt’s death that became a famous cause, especially in right-wing circles.
While federal prosecutors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Babbitt’s civil rights had been violated and that it was reasonable for the officer to believe he was shooting in self-defense or in defense of members of Congress, their staff and others, the representative of the United States, Paul. Gosar, R-Ariz, began to claim that the federal government “executed” her. Other Trump supporters in Congress have taken up the cause.
Much like President Trump himself. In October, Trump said, “It is my great honor to address each of you gathered here today to cherish the memory of Ashli Babbitt, a truly amazing person,” in a video message to Babbitt’s mother and other family members who gathered in Texas to celebrate the death’s birthday.
According to the Washington Post, even Russian President Vladimir Putin joined. Asked in an interview with NBC News about political imprisonment in his country, Putin asked if the correspondent “ordered the assassination of the woman who entered Congress and who was shot dead.” and killed by a policeman?
Aaron Babbit has appeared on Fox News programs to speak out about the death of his late wife and to demand the identity of the officer who shot him.
In August, Lt. Michael Byrd, a 28-year veteran of the Capitol Police, revealed he was the officer who shot Babbitt. He told NBC News he only fired his gun that day as a “last resort” and was trying to protect around 60 to 80 House members and staff who were taking shelter. behind the glass doors of the President’s Lobby outside the Chamber of the House.
Byrd, who is black, told the network that since his name leaked in some right-wing media, he has come under threats, including racist attacks.
More than 500 pages of internal DC Metropolitan Police documents relating to the shooting were released in October as part of a May 2021 FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a group of conservative activists.