Ashli Babbitt tweeted “the storm is here” ahead of a violent protest at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as mobs of angry supporters of Donald Trump stormed the building.
Within hours, Babbit would be dead, reportedly shot by a law enforcement officer as the mob moved into the building. The Daily Beast identified Babbitt as the person shot and killed during the chaotic hours when a large group of people pushed past barriers and invaded the Capitol. Images showed a woman bleeding from the neck and being taken away on a stretcher. As the report noted, the woman’s husband identified her to San Diego media outlet KUSI, saying she was a military veteran and avid supporter of the president.
Family members said they did not understand why she would be part of the mob that invaded the building, forcing an abrupt end to the process of tallying Electoral College votes and confirming Joe Biden’s win over Trump.
“I really don’t know why she decided to do this,” Babbitt’s mother-in-law told Fox 5 DC, via The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast reported that Babbitt’s Twitter page showed that she was a believer of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which falsely claimed that top Democrats and other perceived enemies of Trump are Satanic pedophiles. Babbitt reportedly tweeted many messages in support of the theory, offering foreboding predictions. The day before her death, Babbitt reportedly made reference to a QAnon slogan “dark to light” and warning that the United States would see “The Storm” which the report described as “a moment much awaited by QAnon followers, in which Trump would execute his opponents in the Democratic Party.”
The riot drew widespread condemnation, both from within the United States and from other world leaders.
Prior to the violence, Trump spoke at a rally objecting to the Electoral College vote tallying, reiterating unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him through nationwide fraud. He told the group to head to the Capitol.
After the violence broke out, Trump released a short video on social media in which he continued to claim that the election was stolen, but told the supporters to go home.
“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. So go home. We love you. You’re very special,” he said, via NPR.
Social media sites have since locked Trump’s accounts, leaving him unable to send messages to supporters.
As KUSI reported, the Metropolitan Police Department is investigating Babbitt’s death.