The Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt outside a door of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot has been formally exonerated after an internal investigation, according to a department memo obtained by NBC News.
The officer, whose name has not been released, opened fire on Babbitt as she and a mob of other Trump supporters tried to forcefully enter the Capitol.
Video of the shooting showed Babbitt in front of a crowd of rioters trying to get through a door leading to where members of Congress were being evacuated on the House side of the building.
The Justice Department announced in April that no charges were being brought against the officer. The exoneration by the Capitol Police wraps up the last remaining investigation into the incident.
A memo from the commander of the Capitol Police’s Office of Personal Responsibility says “no further action will be taken in this matter” after the officer was exonerated for use of force.
The Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Babbitt’s family declined to comment.
Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was a decorated security forces controller who served multiple Middle East tours from 2004 to 2016, according to Air Force records.
In recent years, she posted numerous messages on social media indicating she was an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump and a follower and promoter of many well-known radical conservative activists as well as leaders of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement.
Babbitt was one of five people, including a Capitol Police officer, to die as a result of the riot.
In its statement in April, the Justice Department said that the investigation did not find evidence that the officer had violated any federal laws and that there was nothing to contradict that he believed it was necessary to shoot at Babbitt, 35, “in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”
“Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy,” and “based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” the statement added.
Babbitt’s death has been promoted as an unjust killing by some on the far right who have sought to downplay the violence at the storming of the Capitol, and they have demanded that the identity of the shooter be publicly released. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has said Babbitt’s death was “an execution,” and he accused the officer who shot her of “lying in wait” to do so.
Trump previously made the false claim that the officer who shot Babbitt was the “head of security” for a “high-ranking” Democratic member of Congress.
Anna Schecter and Chelsea Damberg contributed.