The woman fatally shot by a US Capitol Police employee as a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday was identified as Ashli Babbitt, Capitol Police chief Steven Sund said.
“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,” Sund said in a statement Thursday. “Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.”
The Capitol Police chief did not name the employee, but said they had been placed on administrative leave per department policy while a joint investigation with DC’s Metropolitan Police Department is underway.
Sund also provided new details regarding reports of explosives found near the Capitol complex during the riot. The chief said two hazardous devices were found in the area, which could have caused “great harm to public safety.” Sund said the devices were rendered safe and are now being investigated by The FBI.
The chief appeared to defend his agency in the wake of growing criticism over the apparent lack of preparation that allowed violent extremists to overrun the Capitol Police checkpoint and enter the building.
“The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced, and I continue to have tremendous respect in the professionalism and dedication of the women and men of the United States Capitol Police,” Sund said, adding that the agency is reviewing its policies and response to the violent event.