Veteran Ashli Babbitt, 35, was a staunch supporter of Trump, her family said.
Babbitt’s grandfather Tony Mazziott told “Good Morning America” in a touching interview that she became a staunch supporter of Trump when her run for president began.
“Ever since he ran for office in 2015, she has been a banana for Trump,” he said. “She thinks he’s the last coming of the Lord, I guess.”
Babbitt was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer “as protesters made their way into the House chamber where members of Congress were taking shelter,” law enforcement said.
Videos have shown Babbitt, in front of a crowd of people, appears to be trying to climb and squeeze through the broken window next to a door frame, as other rioters attempt to smash the glass of a door barricaded and those around it howl. “He has a gun,” before being shot and collapsing to the ground.
“In accordance with USCP policy, the USCP employee was placed on administrative leave and his police powers were suspended pending the outcome of a joint investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and USCP, “the statement from the US Capitol Police said.
Mazziott described his only granddaughter as an “excellent patriot” and a “loving person”. She also attended Trump rallies, he said.
“She served in the military and she’s passionate about everything, especially Donald Trump for some reason,” he said.
Babbitt served a total of 12 years in the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard as a security forces controller and had the enlisted rank of senior airman. Security forces controllers are responsible for ensuring security at Air Force bases, according to military records.
She served in the Air Force on active duty from 2004 to 2008, in the Reserves from 2008 to 2010 and in the National Guard from 2010 to 2016. She was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005, Iraq in 2006 and in the United Arab Emirates in 2012 and 2014.
A Twitter account by the name of Babbitt identified her as a veteran and supporter of the Second Amendment, the Associated Press reported. Comments from the president and his supporters on Wednesday’s rally were retweeted to the account.
Babbitt’s husband Aaron Babbitt told San Diego Fox affiliate KSWB that she flew from her San Diego home in Washington, DC, to meet up with friends for the protest. He sent her a status check message about 30 minutes before she was shot, but never got a response, he said, adding that she was killed for “expressing his opinion”.
“She loved her country and she was doing what she thought was right to support her country, joining like-minded people who also love their president and their country,” said Aaron Babbitt.
In addition to her husband, Babbitt leaves behind her four brothers, mother and father, Mazziott said.
Four people died in total during Wednesday’s events. A woman and two men who suffered “medical emergencies” during the anarchy later died in hospital, police said.
Luis Martinez and Josh Margolin of ABC News contributed to this report.