The woman killed at the riot at the US Capitol shared a chilling tweet the day before she and thousands of others besieged the federal building.
Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot in the chest by police as she and other Trump supporters moved in on the Capitol in a failed attempt to keep the president in power.
“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!” she tweeted.
Ms Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, used Twitter to amplify her views, including false allegations that November’s election was riddled with fraud.
While some who support debunked views on everything from the coronavirus to the election are likely to view her as a martyr, Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund said the mob was involved in “criminal riotous behaviour,” not free speech.
The officer who shot Ms Babbitt has not been identified.
A video taken by a bystander shows her trying to climb through a broken window of a barricaded doorway inside the Capitol at the time of the shooting.
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!
— CommonAshSense (@Ashli_Babbitt) January 5, 2021
Twitter feed references QAnon conspiracy
Ms Babbitt identified as a Libertarian. She used her Twitter account to promote mainstream conservative views, along with references to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
The theory centres on the baseless belief that Trump has been secretly fighting deep state enemies and a cabal of Satan-worshipping cannibals operating a child sex trafficking ring.
On Twitter, Ms Babbitt hit out at some of Trump’s frequent targets, such as illegal immigration, government measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and those who oppose the president.
Ms Babbitt appeared to view pleas to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as an affront to her personal freedoms, the Associated Press reported.
She backed a recall drive against California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has imposed strict stay-at-home orders.
She also promoted baseless claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said Ms Babbitt will be remembered as a martyr by people with a range of grievances spanning from disbelief in the seriousness of the pandemic to beliefs in QAnon conspiracy theories.
“When you have people in an alternate universe, they will take a catalytic event and spin it in a way that is most appealing to their emotions and fears, irrespective of what the facts may end up showing,” he told the Associated Press.
Family speaks out following death
Ms Babbitt’s husband, Aaron Babbitt, told KSWB-TV, a Fox affiliate in San Diego, that he sent his wife a message about 30 minutes before the shooting and never heard back.
Mr Babbitt was not in Washington DC for the riot and said she was doing what she thought was “right to support her country”.
Her brother-in-law Justin Jackson told NBC San Diego she was “extremely passionate about what she believed in”.
“She loved this country and felt honoured to have served in our Armed Forces,” he said.
“Please keep her family in your thoughts and respect their privacy during this time.”
Police asking public to help identify the rioters
The FBI and Washington Police are appealing to the public to help identify those who took part in the riot on Wednesday, local time.
Some people have already been identified in the press, such as the man seen in the building wearing a horned fur hat - Jake Angeli, a regular at pro-Trump events and a known follower of QAnon.
The man in the now infamous photo of him stealing Nancy Pelosi’s lectern has been identified as Adam Christian Johnson.
An acquaintance of Mr Johnson confirmed his identity to the Bradenton Herald.
Much of the looting and rioting was caught on video and photos which went viral on social media, and the FBI has been asking the public to submit tips to help it identify and track down suspects.
The FBI is also taking the lead on an investigation into two pipe bombs that were recovered from the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees.
MPD seeks assistance in identifying persons of interest responsible for Unlawful Entry offenses that occurred yesterday on US Capitol Grounds, 100 block of 1st Street, NW.
More photos: https://t.co/i2Hbv1bkPh
Have info? Call (202) 727-9099/text 50411 pic.twitter.com/yWIPEaxxFW
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) January 7, 2021
According to Reuters, the US Capitol Police said they had arrested 14 suspected of involvement in the rioting, most charged with unlawful entry, while the Metropolitan Police Department made at least 68 arrests.
With Associated Press and Reuters.
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