WASHINGTON – The Air Force veteran killed during the storming of the Capitol was shot as she began to climb through the broken part of a door leading into an area known as the Speaker's Lobby, videos posted online show.
Minutes before the shooting Wednesday, the large crowd of angry pro-Trump loyalists, one carrying an American flag, taunted several police officers officers whose backs were to the barricaded doors. Members of the mob sought to force their way into the long corridor, which is just outside the House chamber where members of Congress were supposed to be meeting to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
One man punched the glass over the shoulder of an officer, cracking it. Others shouted profanities at the police and at the members of Congress who can be seen through the glass.
Then, in one of the videos, the officers who'd been guarding the doors into the Speaker's Lobby are seen moving away from the entry.
As an unidentified person yells “Go, bust it down,” Ashli Babbitt, 35, wearing a stars and stripes backpack, steps up and begins to go through the waist-high opening when a gunshot is heard. She falls backward. Another video shows other unidentified people attempting to lift Babbitt up. She slumps back to the ground.
The brief moments captured in the clips, posted on YouTube and Twitter, show the chaotic and often violent moments before Babbitt's death Wednesday. Capitol Police on Thursday identified Babbitt, of San Diego, as the woman who was fatally shot.
The video clips underscore the hostility and confusion just before Babbitt's death. A third video shows the gunshot was fired by an unidentified officer inside the Speaker's Lobby just as other officers wearing helmets and toting weapons had moved up the stairs behind the crowd and had arrived just outside the door. One of them raises his weapon toward the Lobby doors and then quickly lowers it.
The inside of the Speaker's Lobby appears to be mostly empty at that point, and chairs have been stacked against the doors on the inside.