THE Capitol rioter shot dead during the deadly siege was reportedly in a three-way relationship with her husband and another woman – who is now supporting their grieving widow.
Late Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, 35, and her ex-Marine husband Aaron were part of a "throuple" with bartender Kayla Joyce, 29, who lived with the pair in San Diego, family members have confirmed via The Daily Mail and New York Magazine.
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Ashli was fatally shot in the neck when she joined pro-Trump rioters in storming the US Capitol and attempted to climb through a broken window and enter the House Chamber, in Washington DC last week. She later died in hospital.
The former military officer and her husband met Joyce about a year ago, and decided to welcome her into their open marriage – which was itself only a few months old, Ashli's brother, Andrew Witthoeft told The Mail.
Joyce is believed to be supporting her widower boyfriend in the wake of his wife's tragic death, according to Witthoeft.
"I haven't talked too much to Kayla. I've met her a couple of times and talked to her. She's a nice person. And truthfully I feel she had my sister's best interests at heart," he said.
"From my knowledge, Kayla is with Aaron supporting him right now.
"They were all one team. There was never anything bad, I never saw them against each other or anything like that. They were one team."
In an interview with NY Magazine, Joyce identified herself as the mutual live-in girlfriend of Ashli and her husband, Aaron, and revealed she found out about her lover's death on television.
“I actually saw it first on video when I was on the phone with multiple hospitals trying to find her,” she told the outlet.
“We found out through the news. Through live television.
“I thought she was just going to a rally. And I think that was all it was, until it wasn’t.
“It was extremely unlike her to put herself in that position.”
Although her partner was a fanatical Trump supporter, Kayla told the magazine she felt the President was responsible for the riot, and that Ashli did not set out to do harm.
"I blame Trump. How could you not? I mean he is their figure, their president," she told NY Magazine.
"She wasn't a terrorist. She wouldn't have put herself in harm's way for any bad reason. If I could get into her head and pick her brain, I would."
Both Andrew and Kayla said they had spoken to the FBI, who are investigating rioters for alleged offenses including sedition, the Mail reports.
Ashli was shot when Trump supporters besieged the Capitol building lastWednesday.
One Trump supporter told WUSA 9: "A number of police and secret service were saying 'get back, get down, get out of the way.'
"She didn't heed the call and as we kind of raced up to grab people and pull them back they shot her in the neck and she fell back on me.
"And she started to say 'it's fine, it's cool' and then she started kinda moving weird and blood was coming out of her mouth and neck and nose."
He added: "I'm not injured… it could have been me, but she went in first."
Videos shared on social media earlier in the day showed a crowd of people at the Capitol grounds when a gunshot sounded.
Seconds later, a woman appeared on the floor in shock as people knelt down to help her.
A man was heard shouting, "Where's she hit?' "She needs help," and, "We got to get EMS here."
Chaos ensued as people around the woman sought aid.
Blood could be seen pouring from her mouth as first responders strapped her onto a stretcher.
Footage from MSNBC showed her being taken out of the building in a stretcher, and she was reportedly taken to a nearby hospital.
MSNBC reported that a law enforcement officer fired the gun, but the details of the shooting were not immediately clear.
Following Ashli's death, Aaron described his late wife as a big President Trump supporter, a "high level security official" and a "great patriot" to all who knew her.
She had served 14 years in the Air Force and had completed four tours of duty, her husband revealed to KUSI-TV,
Fox 5 DC later reported that Ashli's mother-in-law told the TV station: “I really don't know why she decided to do this."
Ashli's friend and fellow Air Force Veteran Jack Feeley described her as a "true American" who would have been "furious" to have gone down without a fight.
"I think she absolutely thought this goal was worth laying down her life for," Jack told The Sun.
"She may have laid down her rifle, but she was still willing to lay down her life for her country and what she strongly believed in.
"I'm positive she'd be furious going down without a fight. That was an execution.
"I wish she was still here, but I'm really proud of her for being there."
The day before she was killed, Ashli tweeted, “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."
Ashli, who used the Twitter handle CommonAshSense, also retweeted Wednesday morning a “MUST BE DONE LIST before Congress meets today.”
It included, “Mike [email protected] @Mike_Pence must resign & thereafter be charged with TREASON,” and, “Chief Justice John Roberts must RESIGN.”
In a televised address tonight, Vice President Mike Pence said: "We grieve the loss of life.
"Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the peoples' house."
The incident occurred as dozens of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building as Congress convened to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.
Congress halted its vote and evacuated the House chambers, as MAGA fans broke into the room.
They later reconvened.
Trump has since been impeached for the second time of his term – this time for inciting the riots.
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