Ashli Babbit's heroic final minutes

 May 15, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Ashli Babbitt entered the Capitol alone on the Senate side of the Capitol through a broken window at 2:23 p.m. on January 6, 2021. Once in, she encountered a female police officer who directed her towards the House side.

As Ashli walked, recording her fellow protestors with her iPhone along the way, she saw crowds wandering peacefully through the many rooms and corridors of this vast building. Uniformed police officers looked on, seemingly as clueless and confused as the protestors. There were no commands being given, no arrests being made, no police being attacked or abused.

At 2:25 p.m., Ashli climbed over a velvet rope to honor the walking lane designated for visitors. Still alone, Ashli made her way to the hallway leading up to the main door of the House Chamber.

A crowd had already gathered there. Not one to follow the crowd, literally or figuratively, she continued to explore the Capitol. At 2:36, Ashli, now accompanied by citizen journalist Tayler Hansen, walked down the long, narrow corridor leading to the Speaker’s Lobby.

Hansen recorded her as she walked. Guarding the lobby doors were three USCP officers – Sgt. Timothy Lively, Officer Kyle Yetter and Officer Christopher Lanciano. Hansen offered the officers some water, while Ashli joked with them. Within a minute or two, the trailing crowd of roughly thirty people quickly filled up the hallway in front of the lobby doors.

In that crowd was Zachary Alam, thirty, from Centreville, Va. In October 2023, former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson did a feature on Alam and two other potential provocateurs for her show “Full Measure.”

Attkisson explained, "I didn't see key provocateurs removed from the crowd. In fact, the key provocateurs in this case seem to be sort of tolerated, if not encouraged, by some of the police officers on the front line."

Free to roam despite his erratic behavior, Alam moved to the front of the crowd, reached between the officers, and began punching the glass panels while yelling, “F*** the blue.” This was not a MAGA thing to say or do. In fact, as Attkisson pointed out, Alam had no social media history tying him to Trump or the MAGA movement. He had, however, been arrested a half-dozen times in the previous four years.

Appalled by Alam’s behavior, Ashli’s police training kicked in. “Call f***ing back-up!” she shouted at the feckless officers as they stood in place with their backs to the doors, doing nothing.

“She was basically yelling at these officers telling them to do their jobs,” said Hansen. For more than a minute after the first window was cracked, protestors argued with the officers but did not touch them or threaten them. Nor did they smash any more windows. At one point, Alam stood with his back to the officers keeping the crowd at bay. Clearly frustrated, Ashli wandered away from the doors.

In a press release clearing Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd of any wrongdoing, the DOJ observed, “Eventually, the three USCP officers positioned outside the doors were forced to evacuate.” The video does not bear this out at all. The officers were not in any imminent danger. They appear to have noticed a USCP emergency response team mount the stairs to the lobby and abandoned their post before the response team could reach them.

As soon as the officers pulled away, rioter Chad Jones joined Alam in smashing the windows of the unguarded doors. House Sergeant at Arms employee Jason Gandolph, a licensed police officer, stood behind Ashli and did nothing to stop Jones or Alam.

Now with a helmet he grabbed from another protestor, Alam broke out all the glass from the transom on the far right side. “Ashli was actively trying to disarm these people,” Hansen observed, “trying to calm them down through this entire kind of confrontation with these police officers.”

By this time, several of the protestors on the left side of the hallway had noticed a weapon leveled parallel to the doors. A few yelled, “gun, gun” or “there’s a gun, there’s a gun.” Self-styled video journalist John Earle Sullivan, a BLM supporter, happened to be in that narrow corridor as well. Through the lens of his camera, he saw the extended arm, gun in hand, and joined the chorus of those shouting “gun.”

On the right side of the clamorous lobby, Ashli either did not hear the warning or feared that the gunman was on her side of the lobby doors. After yelling for Alam to stop, Ashli took matters into her own hands, literally.

A southpaw, she yanked at Alam’s backpack with her right hand. As he spun around, she slugged him square in the face with her left fist. His glasses flew off on impact. Fleeing the madness, Ashli hopped with some assistance into the window frame now fully free of glass. Only a person as small as she could have managed that feat.

Byrd, the incident commander for the House on January 6, had all the time he needed to assess the scene. He knew that the doors were heavily barricaded and that other armed officers hovered nearby in the Speaker’s Lobby. “Members and staffers were just feet away when Babbitt attempted to climb through a shattered glass,” the House report writers insisted. That again was false.

No members of Congress remained in the lobby, and the handful that remained on the House floor were Republicans, four from Texas, one from Oklahoma. They stood guard at the main door one hundred feet away and tried to calm the crowd through the broken window.

Three dozen House Democrats meanwhile hovered in the balcony, “socially distancing.” Panicked by their own propaganda, they feared the worst. “Just remember, we’re on the right side of history,” Rep. Val Demings told a colleague. “If we all die today, another group will come in and certify those ballots.”

The House report did not mention Byrd by name, let alone question the shooting. To the degree that the report mentioned Ashli, it was to build the specious case that Trump was indifferent to her death.

How Byrd came to be there, as incident commander, had a lot to do with the racial politics of D.C. Some years back, Byrd fired shots into his own moving vehicle. Some teenagers had stolen it and were fleeing the scene.

Not the best of shots, Byrd sent a few stray bullets into the sides of nearby homes. An official investigation ruled that his use of force was unjustified. In another city, the officer gets canned. Not in Washington. Not Byrd.

In 2019, Byrd made the news when he left his Glock 22 in the Capitol Visitor’s Center. As many as twenty thousand people pass through the center on a given day. More troubling still, the Glock does not have a traditional safety. A child could have found it and fired it. According to Roll Call, Byrd told fellow officers, “I will be treated differently.” He was. After the Monday night incident, he was back on the job Tuesday.

Just seven seconds after she slugged Alam, said Hansen, “Michael Leroy Byrd ended up issuing the kill shot with no verbal warning.” Said Thomas Baranyi, a young protestor who had been right behind Ashli when she fell, “[The protest] was a joke to them until we got inside, and then all of a sudden the guns came out.”

According to a suit filed by Judicial Watch and Ashli’s husband, Aaron Babbitt, “The bullet pierced Ashli in her left anterior shoulder, perforated her left brachial plexus, trachea, upper lobe of the right lung and second anterior rib, and landed in her right anterior shoulder.”

Once shot, Ashli instantly fell backward onto the marble floor. She was still alive after the fall. According to Baranyi, Ashli “started to say she’s fine, it’s cool, and then she started like moving weird and blood was coming out of her mouth and neck and nose.”

When California physician Dr. Austin Harris tried to treat Ashli, the police pulled him off and cleared the other protestors trying to help. According to Hansen, that is all they did. “The cops just continued to stand there,” he told filmmaker Nick Searcy. “They didn’t help her. She clearly needed her throat cleared from the blood. They didn’t do anything. They just let her bleed out. And that was it.”

The FBI would later arrest Dr. Harris on the same cooked-up charges they did most other protestors. A half-hour after the shooting, Ashli was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center.

As to Hansen, no official ever talked to him or asked to see his video despite Hansen’s repeated attempts to reach out. “I begged and I begged these people on the committee,” said Hansen, but no one wanted to know what he saw.

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