The chief of the US Capitol Police has announced that the officer behind the fatal shooting of a protester taking part in Wednesday’s breach is suspended and the incident is being investigated.
There were four fatalities amid the chaos at the US Capitol – three from what police described as “medical emergencies,” and one woman, Ashli Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force veteran from San Diego, who was shot by an officer inside the building.
Video of Babbitt’s shooting showed her and others inside the US Capitol after it had been breached by pro-Trump protesters. A shot can be heard going off from behind a barricaded door and the woman identified as Babbitt falls to the floor, bleeding, before being quickly administered first aid.
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She was taken out on a stretcher and reported to be in critical condition before later dying of her injuries.
US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund also announced on Thursday that a “thorough review” of security policies is underway into Wednesday’s events.
Despite the shooting, Sund said in his statement that officers had acted “valiantly” against protesters who “actively attacked United States Capitol Police Officers and other uniformed law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers.”
Along with the breach of the Capitol, Sund confirmed two explosive devices were found, before being disabled and turned over to the FBI. A suspicious vehicle was also investigated, but cleared of any hazardous materials. The owner of the vehicle, along with 13 others, was arrested for unlawful entry of the US Capitol.
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Over 50 officers were injured during the riot on Wednesday, according to Sund, including several US Capitol officers who have “serious injuries.”
Sund said the US Capitol breach was “unlike anything” he’s experienced in his 30 years in law enforcement.
“Maintaining public safety in an open environment – specifically for First Amendment activities – has long been a challenge,” he said.
The police chief added that the force had a “robust plan” in place for handling any First Amendment-related activities, adding: “But make no mistake – these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior.”
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