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Capitol Police officer not charged in fatal shooting of rioter

Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

April 14 (UPI) -- The Justice Department announced Wednesday it won't charge the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, a woman involved in the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division closed the case after a "thorough investigation," a release from the department said.

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Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from Ocean Beach, Calif., died after she was shot while participating in the mob of the Capitol. Thousands of people loyal to former President Donald Trump pushed past police barriers around the building and broke windows to enter.

Video footage from the scene appears to show Babbit among a group of people attempting to climb through a broken glass door when an officer opened fire, hitting her in the left shoulder.

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An emergency response team rendered aid to Babbitt and transported her to Washington Hospital Center, where she died.

The Justice Department said investigators examined video footage from the scene, interviewed officers involved and witnesses, and examined evidence and autopsy results to determine there wasn't enough evidence to support a criminal prosecution of the officer who opened fire.

"The investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber," the Justice Department release said.

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"Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt's family, the U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter."

Babbitt served multiple tours in the Middle East as a member of the Air Force, family members said. She was the owner of a pool service and supply business along with her husband, Aaron, according to her Facebook page.

Her Twitter feed included several posts praising Trump and images of her at pro-Trump rallies.

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In one of her final posts, she wrote, "Nothing will stop us ... they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours ... dark to light!"

Four other people died in the Jan. 6 attack, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.

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