A Facebook post claimed that an officer involved in the killing of a woman during the Jan. 6 capitol riots was “a bodyguard to a high-ranking Democrat in Congress.” That’s false.
Facebook post: A bodyguard of a high-ranking Democrat in Congress fired the shot that killed Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6.
PolitiFact’s ruling: False
Here’s why: There are plenty of questions still unanswered about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. For some Republicans, that includes identifying who shot one person who stormed the Capitol that day. In a recent email to supporters, former President Donald Trump asked, “Who shot Ashli Babbitt?”
Trump brought up the question again on July 11 during a discussion with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo. But this time, he had a theory.
“I will tell you they know who shot Ashli Babbitt. They’re protecting that person,” Trump said in the phone interview. “I’ve heard, also, that it was the head of security for a certain high official — a Democrat — and we’ll see, because it’s going to come out. It’s going to come out.”
The comments set off a frenzy of social media posts, like this one shared on Facebook, that claim the high-ranking official the officer was assigned to was either Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The photo in the post shows a person in a suit wearing a face mask and holding a handgun in his right hand. By the background seen in the photo, he appears to be pictured in the House of Representatives. “He shot Ashli Babbitt,” the caption reads. “Pelosi’s or Schumer’s personal bodyguard. Prove me wrong!”
The officer involved was placed on leave while Babbitt’s death was being investigated by D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, which shares jurisdiction with the Capitol Police.
The investigation concluded in April, and the Justice Department announced that it would not be pursuing criminal charges against the officer involved.
“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,” the department said in a statement. “Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
A Pelosi spokesperson declined to comment for this story, deferring to the Capitol Police statement. Schumer’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Because official sources have not identified the officer involved in the shooting, we cannot verify or debunk any names being thrown around on the internet. But claims that the officer worked for Schumer or Pelosi are contradicted by the Capitol Police. They say that the person who fired the shot was not assigned to any Congress member’s security detail. We rate this post False.
- Facebook post, July 11, 2021
- Fox News, ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ on Trump’s Big Tech lawsuit, US-China relations, July 11, 2021
- NBC News, Trump wrong about officer who shot Jan. 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt, law enforcement official says, July 12, 2021
- Justice.gov, Department of Justice Closes Investigation into the Death of Ashli Babbitt, April 14, 2021
- Email interview, Capitol Police, July 13-14, 2021