Ashli Babbitt a martyr? Her history is more complicated

WASHINGTON (AP), -- When Celeste Norris first saw Ashli Babbitt she had just driven her car three times with an SUV. She was banging on the windows, challenging her to a fight.

Ashli Babbitt a martyr? Her history is more complicated

Norris claims that the bad blood between them started in 2015 when Babbitt began an extramarital affair for months with Norris' long-term boyfriend. Norris told Babbitt that she had cheated after she found out about the relationship.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press Norris described the road-rage incident that occurred in Prince Frederick, Maryland, on July 29, 2016. It took me 30 seconds to figure her out. I heard all kinds of expletives from her telling me to get out the car and that she was going after my ass."

Norris, terrified and confused dialled 911 to wait for law enforcement. Babbitt was later convicted of numerous misdemeanors.

Babbitt's erratic, sometimes threatening behavior is evident in the attack on Norris. He was shooting at a police officer as he stood guard at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 riot. Trump's former President and his supporters tried to portray her as a martyred, righteous woman who was wrongly killed.

Trump called her "an amazing person" and even recorded a posthumous birthday greeting for her in October. Trump also demanded that the Justice Department reinvestigate Babbitt's murder, even though the officer who shot Babbitt was cleared by two federal investigations.

The life of an Air Force veteran from California who was killed while carrying a Trump campaign flag around her shoulders like it was a cape was much more complicated than Trump's heroic portrait.

Babbitt was consumed by conspiracy theories about Trump and began posting angry tweets on social media in the months leading up to her death. Babbitt also had a history making violent threats.

Babbitt, 35 years old, was shot and killed while trying to climb through a broken window on a barricaded door that led to the Speaker's Lobby in the Capitol. This is where officers were evacuating members Congress from the mob backing Trump's false claim of stealing the 2020 presidential election. She was among five people who died in the riot or shortly after, including a Capitol Police officer.

Babbitt was a Libertarian who is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Videos of her posts included profane rants about Democrats, COVID-19 mandates, and illegal immigration.

Her Twitter account was deleted after her death. It was full of references to the QAnon conspiracy theory. This theory centers on the false belief that Trump had secretly fought deep-state enemies and a group of Satan-worshiping, cannibals.

Babbitt tweeted Jan. 5: "Nothing will stop" They can try and keep trying, but the storm is here and it's descending upon DC in less that 24 hours dark light!

Q followers refer to "The Storm" as the day Trump will finally reveal the pedophile cabal and arrest and execute all those considered traitors, and restore America's greatness.

Trump has repeated his belief that Babbitt was killed, and she has been hailed as a martyr by Trump supporters. At rallies for Trump, her name and likeness are now displayed on flags and T-shirts.

Aaron Babbitt (a Maryland personal injury lawyer) has raised $375,000 via a Christian crowdfunding website and threatened to sue the Capitol Police.

The key to this wrongful death claim is that Babbitt (a former military police officer, who was 5'2" and weighed 115 lbs) would have surrendered peacefully if Capitol officers tried to arrest her.

Aaron Babbitt refused to comment on October's visit by a reporter to the San Diego apartment that he shared with Ashli, and another woman. Babbitt stated that he was sickened by some of the things he had seen about his wife in a Fox News interview.

Babbitt, 40, said that Ashli has never met a person she didn't love.

Norris did not feel that way about Norris.

Media outlets including the AP have reported court records relating to the 2016 violent confrontation between Babbitt, Norris. However, Norris, now 39 years old, spoke out publicly about the incident in an interview with AP. She also shared details previously unknown. To support her story, she also provided photos and documents from the scene of the crash.

Norris was having a six-year-long relationship with Aaron Babbitt. She said that she discovered he was cheating upon her with a married colleague from his job as a security officer at a nuclear power station near Chesapeake Bay. Ashli McEntee was the other woman she discovered. She went by the name of her husband at the time.

Norris recalled, "He was telling him about this foulmouthed girl that's on hisshift, blah.blah.blah." "We found out that they were actually having this relationship at work a few months later."

She reached out to Timothy McEntee, Babbitt's husband when she found out about the affair.

She said, "You know, it was my attempt to keep my home together."

Norris stated that she tried for several months to save her relationship with Aaron Babbitt, before finally deciding to leave their home. Norris stated that Ashli moved in within days.

Norris, who was waiting at a stop light in Prince Frederick, an hour southeast from Washington, D.C., waited a few weeks before a white Ford Explorer drove past her, going in the opposite direction.

Norris witnessed the SUV make a U-turn and then speed up behind her. Norris recalls that the SUV's driver started swerving erratically and laid on the horn, trying to pass a Chevrolet Suburban on the narrow two-lane road.

Norris stated that the white Ford SUV drove up to her vehicle and crashed into her rear bumper. She claimed that the SUV drove up to her bumper twice more, and then another time. All the while the cars continued rolling down the road.

Norris called 911 and an emergency dispatcher told her to pull over to the side and stop. While she waited for help to arrive, Babbitt got out her car and ran up to Norris’ driver's side window banging on it.

Norris claimed that the impact caused her seatbelt lock tight and prevented her from getting out. Within minutes, the deputies were on their way.

According to a Calvert County Sheriff's Office case report, Ashli Babbitt was given a criminal summons for reckless endangerment. This misdemeanor is defined by Maryland law as the act of creating a substantial danger of death or serious bodily injury to another person. It can be punishable with up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. For the destruction of Norris' vehicle, she was also charged with maliciously destroying property.

Court records indicate that these charges were later amended to include traffic offenses such as reckless driving, negligent driving, and failure to control the vehicle's speed in order to avoid a collision.

Norris took photos of Babbitt's white Ford Explorer, showing the front bumper smashed in. The grill of the SUV is also pushed into place and the hood is dented. The Escape's rear bumper is pushed in from the passenger side. Babbitt's Maryland license plate is also inserted into the bumper.

After the altercation, Norris went with a friend to St. Mary's County where she was living at the time and filed for a peace order. This is a type of restraining or temporary order against Ashlibabbitt. Ashli Babbitt was prohibited from trying to contact Norris and she was also forbidden from committing more acts of violence against Ashli. She was also barred by the resulting judicial order from going to her house or workplace.

A copy of the order that was dated on the same day as the altercation contains Norris' contemporaneous account as it happened, as recorded by her friend. According to a note attached to the document, Norris' hands were shaking so much that she couldn't remember what had happened.

Norris claimed that Babbitt made false claims to authorities in the weeks following the incident. She said that Babbitt had repeatedly backed Norris' vehicle into Babbitt’s SUV. Norris stated that Babbitt later changed her story when the case was brought to trial. She admitted under oath she had collided in with Norris' car, but portrayed it as an accident.

Although no transcript of the hearing was available at this time, Norris stated that Babbitt's lawyer made repeated references about her employment at the local nuclear power plant and years in military service which included deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. Babbitt was active duty in the U.S. Air Force and later in the Reserves and Air National Guard up to 2016. Babbitt was acquitted by a judge of the criminal charges.

Records show that Norris applied for and was granted a second peace warrant against Ashlibabbitt in February 2017. This was citing continued harassment and stalking. Norris wrote in a petition that Babbitt had been following her home from work recently and that she had received multiple calls at night from an unknown number.

Norris said that she lived in fear because she wasn't capable of what I thought, and told the AP. "I was always looking over my shoulder."

Norris sued Ashli Babbitt for personal injury in 2019. She sought $74,500 and was eventually paid by Babbitt's insurer for an undisclosed amount.

Aaron and Ashli were already living in California when Ashli was born. In May 2019, Timothy McEntee received a Maryland divorce. McEntee didn't respond to messages and voicemails left at his house.

Ashli announced on Facebook that she had married Aaron Babbitt in the next month. According to records, the couple owned a pool-cleaning service together with Ashli’s brother. A large sign at the door of the building declared it to be a "Mask Free Autonomous Zone Bessere Known As America" when a reporter visited it the day following her death.

Trump and many Republicans in Congress sought to recast Jan. 6's insurrection inviolently in the year that has passed since Babbitt's passing. This contention was directly contradicted in hours of video footage, the public testimony of Capitol Police officers (140 of whom were hurt in the melee).

Trump said in his video about Babbitt's birth that "Together, we mourn her terrible loss." It was wrong for Ashli to have lost her life on that fateful day. Ashli's family and friends must be held accountable. We reaffirm our demand for justice on this solemn day of Ashli's life.

Terrell Roberts III, Aaron Babbitt’s lawyer, didn't respond to multiple phone calls or emails seeking comment. He did however write to the media that he said that her shooting was "equal to an execution without trial."

Roberts stated that Ashli, given her 14-year Air Force veteran background, would likely have obeyed simple verbal commands and made it unnecessary to use force.

Lt. Michael Byrd of Capitol Police, who shot Babbitt in the neck, stated in August in a televised interview that he only fired as a "last option" and had no idea if the person jumping through the window might have been armed.

In April, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia cleared Byrd of any wrongdoing. They concluded that Byrd acted in self defense and in the defense of members of Congress. In August, the U.S. Capitol Police declared that Byrd had been cleared.

Byrd stated, "I tried to wait so long as possible." "I hoped that no one would try to get in through those doors. I had to intervene to save the lives and safety of my colleagues officers and members of Congress by refusing to comply.

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