Ashli Babbitt: Family pays tribute to Air Force veteran shot dead during Capitol riots

7 January 2021, 15:33 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 15:38

Tributes have been paid by the family of Ashli Babbitt
Tributes have been paid by the family of Ashli Babbitt. Picture: Facebook

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The family of the woman who was shot dead when Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol have paid tribute, calling her a “great patriot”.

A violent throng of pro-Trump rioters spent hours running rampant through the building on Wednesday as Congress tried to formally validate Joe Biden's presidential election victory.

Ashli Babbitt, 35, from San Diego, was shot dead by a plain-clothed police officer as she attempted to enter the House chamber.

LIVE: Trump pledges ‘orderly transition’ of power after four die in clashes at Capitol

READ MORE: Home Secretary Priti Patel condemns US violence as 'shocking beyond words' on LBC

Her husband Aaron told television station KUSI that she spent 14 years in the US Air Force, serving four tours of duty.

According to the station, he said she was a strong supporter of Donald Trump and a “great patriot to all who knew her”.

Her mother-in-law, Robin Babbitt, told Fox 5 on Wednesday evening: "I really don’t know why she decided to do this.”

"I'm numb. I'm devastated. Nobody from DC notified my son and we found out on TV," she later told the New York Post.

Her brother-in-law, Justin Jackson, told NBC 7: "Ashli was both loyal as well as extremely passionate about what she believed in. She loved this country and felt honoured to have served in our Armed Forces. Please keep her family in your thoughts and respect their privacy during this time."

The rampage began on Wednesday shortly after Mr Trump repeated his unfounded claims of election fraud to thousands of rallying demonstrators he had invited to Washington.

Many protesters then surged to the Capitol after he incited them to go there as the electoral votes were debated in the House of Representatives and Senate.

They forced their way into the building, smashing windows and forcing officials to flee the building shielded by police.

More than six hours after the violence erupted, the session was resumed and the House and Senate certified the Democrat's electoral college win early on Thursday.

Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump by 306-232 electoral votes and will be inaugurated on January 20.