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Capitol Police officer who fatally shot woman in Capitol building placed on leave

The Capitol Police have opened an investigation into the officer and the incident

Published: January 7, 2021 12:51pm

Updated: January 7, 2021 1:03pm

The Capitol Police announced on Thursday that the employee responsible for firing the shot that fatally wounded a protester outside the House chamber yesterday has been placed on leave and is under investigation. 

Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Californian and Air Force veteran, was among the thousands of supporters of the President who gathered on the National Mall yesterday and made their way to the Capitol building, ultimately breaching the security forces positioned in front of the building where lawmakers were meeting to certify the results of the presidential election.

Steven Sund, the Capitol Police Chief state in a statement that Babbitt had been part of the group forcing its way into the House chamber, from which lawmakers had not yet been evacuated. 

Babbitt, who was shot in the chest, was transported to a local hospital but succumbed to her injuries after several hours. 

"As protesters were forcing their way toward the House Chamber where Members of Congress were sheltering in place, a sworn USCP employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult female. As per the USCP’s policy, the USCP employee has been placed on administrative leave and their police powers have been suspended pending the outcome of a joint Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and USCP investigation," said Sund.

A video of the incident appears to show Babbitt attempting to climb through a broken window near outside of the Speaker's Lobby. An officer is seen firing a weapon at close range and the individual falls back onto the ground. 

"The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C. Maintaining public safety in an open environment – specifically for First Amendment activities – has long been a challenge. The USCP had a robust plan established to address anticipated First Amendment activities," Sund continued. 

He said the Capitol police will be conducting a thorough review of yesterday's events, including "security planning and policies and procedures."