A friend of the Air Force vet shot and killed during Wednesday’s riot at the US Capitol labeled her death “an execution,” but said the California woman believed President Trump’s cause was “worth dying for.”
Ashli Babbitt, 35, was shot in the chest by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to climb through a smashed window beside a barricaded double door inside the Capitol, part of the mob attempting to breach the House chambers.
Heartbroken friend Jack Feeley, a fellow Air Force vet, described her to The Sun as a “true American.”
“She may have laid down her rifle, but she was still willing to lay down her life for her country and what she strongly believed in,” Feeley said. “I’m positive she’d be furious going down without a fight. That was an execution.”
He lamented that videos of the incident were broadcast, saying it “breaks my heart to know millions of people watched my friend be executed on live television.”
Her mother-in-law previously told the Post the family found out about her death watching television.
A day before she was killed, the married Babbitt tweeted that “nothing will stop us” while vowing that a “storm” would descend upon Washington within 24 hours. She live-streamed the march to the Capitol from the rally held earlier, TMZ reported, claiming that there were 3 million people at the event. “It was amazing to get to see the president talk,” Babbitt said as she marched.
Feeley, who met Babbitt while they both served in the Air Force in Maryland, said she was passionate about President Trump, and wanted “the end to corruption and the terrible things happening all the way from the top of government down to her local city officials.”
He said she was a “hero,” not a “terrorist or Nazi.”
“She was my best friend for several years,” Feeley said. “We were AF vets together, schoolmates together afterwards at college, and she was one of my favorite people,” he said. “She helped me through some very difficult times after I got out of the service.”
Supporters have labeled Babbitt a martyr for the cause and plan to gather at the Washington Monument later Saturday to hold a vigil in her name, the Washington Post reported. While friends described her as a patriot, her social media activity and other records show her devotion to Trump only increased as the president’s fortunes waned.
Babbitt was one of five people who died in the melee, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, also a military veteran, who was reportedly bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher as the mob entered the legislative building.