Stand up for the facts!
Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
Officials have not released the identity of the person who fired the gunshot that killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 attack, but the Capitol Police confirmed the person was not assigned to any Congress member’s security detail.
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!"
We can’t prove if the person depicted shot Ashli Babbitt, because officials have not released the name of the officer who fired the shot. We also haven’t been able to confirm the identity of the person pictured. But Capitol Police told PolitiFact that the officer involved in Babbitt’s shooting was not serving as part of security detail for any member of Congress, Pelosi and Schumer included.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
An officer shot Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, as she attempted to climb through a barricaded door at the Capitol where glass was broken out near the House chamber.
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
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.