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No charges for officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during Capitol riot

The Justice Department says the officer believed it was necessary to defend himself or the Members of Congress being evacuated.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will not pursue charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer accused of fatally shooting Ashli Babbitt on January 6, saying there’s insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.

Babbitt, a San Diego resident and Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan, died shortly after being shot in the shoulder while attempting to breach an interior door at the Capitol building. Her uncle said Babbitt was “fanatical” about loving her country and trying to get former President Donald Trump reelected, and that she came to D.C. on January 6 because she “thought she could influence whatever was happening in Washington that day.”

Video captured during the Capitol riot showed Babbitt among the mob trying to breaking into the Speaker’s Lobby outside the U.S. House of Representatives. She was shot by a Capitol Police officer when she attempted to climb through a broken window to an area where police had barricaded themselves.

The officer, who has not been identified, has been placed on leave since the shooting pending the results of the investigation.

According to the Justice Department, investigators did not determine the officer acted willfully to deprive Babbitt of a protected right.

“Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber,” the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday.

Babbitt is one of at least seven deaths connected to the Capitol riot. Those deaths include three other alleged rioters and Officer Brian Sicknick, who died on January 7 of injuries sustained during the insurrection.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.