As dramatic scenes unraveled in the Capitol on Wednesday – with a horde plowing through security – the jarring live video showed a woman draped in a Trump flag who has been shot by a plainclothes officer as she allegedly purported to breach the storied chambers via the window. She was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition and later died from her wounds.
That woman was later identified as a 14-year Air Force veteran from San Diego, Calif. Her name was Ashli Babbitt.
Her husband, Aaron Babbitt, told KUSI-TV in San Diego that she was a "strong supporter of President Trump, and was a great patriot to all who knew her."
Babbitt, a self-described Trump devotee, based in the bustling, popular surf neighborhood of Ocean Beach, seemingly made the journey without her husband – who only learned of her death as the scene unfurled on the television.
According to records, the pair married in 2019, and most of her online profile pictures – including on professional networking site LinkedIn – feature them together. Ashli Babbitt was previously married to Timothy McEntee, with whom she served in the U.S. Air Force. They filed for divorce in May 2019.
In statements Thursday, he depicted his former wife as one who was "never afraid to speak her mind," "loud and opinionated, but caring, thoughtful, loving," as well as a woman who "loved America with all her heart."
Her brother-in-law, Justin Jackson, similarly characterized Babbitt to NBC7 as "extremely passionate about what she believed in," and one who deeply loved the United States.
Much of that zest and vehement Trump advocacy was reflected in her Twitter account. She used the display name "CommonSenseAsh" and described herself as a veteran, Libertarian, and Second Amendment supporter in the biographical section.
Her page was peppered with allusions to the fringe, right-wing extremist conspiracy theory movement known as QAnon, often retweeting its accounts and donning a Q-inspired shirt.
"Nothing will stop us….they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon D.C. in less than 24 hours….dark to light!" she wrote in one post, and in others touted #StoptheSteal retweets as well as calls for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to be recalled.
On Jan. 1, Babbitt retweeted a post declaring, "This is a COUP. They do not Fear us. They don't even try to Hide now."
And in what would turn out to be one of her last posts on the platform, Babbitt responded to another Twitter user who vowed that they were "landing in D.C." to "do God's work" and "Save the Republic," that she too would "be there."
She joined the platform in 2016 and had more than 5,500 followers, which quickly limed to more than 18,000 in the wake of her death.
The day before she was shot and killed by Capitol police, Babbitt tweeted, "Nothing will stop us…. they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon D.C. in less than 24 hours….dark to light."
Babbitt served as a high-level security officer throughout her time in Air Force. Military records show that she held an E4 Senior Airman's rank, having entered active duty in April 2004 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her last active-duty station was Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, where she held the title of security forces controller, before leaving the military in 2008.
Throughout her tenure, Babbitt received a dozen awards and decorations, including the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and Air Force Reserve Meritorious Service Medal.
In 2008, Babbitt and then-husband McEntee were profiled by the Official U.S. Air Force website in a story entitled "Retired, Adopted: Hard Work Pays Off for Military Working Dog (MWD)."
"As most every security forces specialist puts in 12-hour shifts, works hard in the field and charges through long and frequent deployments, he/she can only hope to depart from the force with a nice, cushy and well-deserved retirement," the article noted. "Now, he gets to live the good life with the adopted family of his most recent handler, Staff Sgt. Timothy and wife, Airman 1st Class Ashli McEntee, currently stationed at Dyess AFB, Texas."
Babbitt commented on how the "chill dog" had adapted well to its new life and concurred that adopting the MWD was a benefit to the couple just as much as for the canine. She said the pup was "naturally hardened by his work environment of finding explosives and hunting down 'bad guys' during his numerous deployments in support of Operations Northern Watch and Iraqi Freedom."
Records show that she was a member of the Air Force Reserve from October 2008 until September 2010 and was subsequently in the Air National Guard from July 2010 until November 2016.
A Washington, D.C., Air National Guard news release in 2014 also listed Senior Airman Ashli McEntee as being one of the 30 personnel being deployed to southwest Asia, highlighting that it was her eighth deployment and describing her as a mentor to her fellow service members in the 113th Security Forces Squadron.
In the last chapter of her life, Babbitt took over the longrunning Spring Valley, California-based Fowler's Pool Service & Supply in 2017, where she was listed as CEO and owner with her second husband, Aaron.
"Fowler's Pool Service is proud to be a veteran-owned and operated company," its website states.
While social media postings for the company were relatively scarce compared to her own Twitter feed, on Veteran's Day 2019, its Instagram account further highlighted its U.S. military roots.
"A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with freedom," the post read.
"Happy Veterans Day from all of us at Fowler's Pool Service. We are so honored to be led by these two who are our fearless leaders and who inspire us every day with their strength and positivity," said the post. "You both have been through so much and we owe our freedom to you and all of the other veterans out there who have risked everything. We appreciate everything you do for us and all of our amazing clients."
As per standard protocol, a police investigation is now underway into the circumstances of her death, with the officer who fired the fatal shot having been placed on administrative leave and their police powers suspended. Three other people also died Wednesday from medical emergencies.
Members of Babbitt's family could not be reached for further comment.
Still, as her identity as the person deceased filtered out early Thursday, some friends were busy preparing crowdfunding pages to pay for funeral costs.
Others were perplexed over just how and why Babbitt was where she was on Wednesday and engaged in the mass protest against the transition of power.
"I really don't know why she decided to do this," her mother-in-law told the DC Fox affiliate.