Ashli Babbitt embraced QAnon and endorsed theory storming Capitol would bring ‘storm’ of violence

Former US Air Force veteran was excited about Washington DC rally, and predicted a ‘storm’ before her death

Gino Spocchia
Friday 08 January 2021 19:08 GMT
<p>Ashli Babbitt</p>

Ashli Babbitt

A QAnon conspiracy theorist who died in the riot on the Capitol, Ashli Babbitt, was a retired US Air Force veteran who had planned to help create a “storm” in DC. 

The 35-year-old supported US president Donald Trump, and was shot dead inside Congress by Capitol police on Wednesday.

According to reports, the Californian woman was caught up in the extremist QAnon conspiracy that claims a criminal “deep state” is working against Mr Trump.

The president has said in the past that QAnon supporters “are people that love our country”.

Babbitt, who believed that to be true, also supported claims that November’s election was “stolen” or “rigged” against the president.

She wanted to march on Washington DC alongside other Trump supporters, and posted excitedly that a “storm” was about to arrive.  

Among those who support the conspiracy, the protest was said to have indicated that “The Storm” was imminent, which they believed was the day Mr Trump would overcome the so-called “deep state”. 

A QAnon expert named Alex Bradley Newhouse told Insider that with the president sill in power, Wednesday would likely be seen as an event that will eventually lead "to the apocalyptic conclusion, the Storm, which theoretically involves mass arrests, military tribunals, and executions throughout the world."

“Nothing will stop us,” Babbitt wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon [Washington] DC in less than 24 hours… dark to light!”

She was shot by Capitol police as she attempted to break into the House chamber, among others rioters who scaled walls and stormed Congress on Wednesday.

She had moments beforehand been seen with a Trump flag draped around her, and smashed a window in a hallway, it was reported.

Babbitt was among five people who have died as a result, after a Capitol Police officer was confirmed to have passed away on Friday.

Speaking with Fox 5 News in San Diego, Babbitt's husband said he never heard back from her, having sent a text message roughly half an hour before the shooting.

“She loved her country and she was doing what she thought was right to support her country, joining up with like-minded people that also love their president and their country," Aaron Babbitt told Fox 5 News. "She was voicing her opinion and she got killed for it."

Babbitt had served in the US Air Force between 2004 and 2016, having held several positions, and was deployed in two wars, with one year in Iraq.  

Her brother, Roger Witthoeft, told the New York Times that she felt “for the first time in her life, she could actually say what she wanted to say, and didn’t have to bottle it up,” after she left the military, and became interested in politics.

“My sister was 35 and served 14 years — to me that’s the majority of your conscious adult life,” said Mr Witthoeft. “If you feel like you gave the majority of your life to your country and you’re not being listened to, that is a hard pill to swallow.”

Babbitt had not told her family that she was marching in Washington, Mr Witthoeft said, but they were not surprised.

The officer who shot Babbitt has not been named, and is on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, the Capitol Police said in a statement.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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