Capitol riot investigators have recommended no charges for the unnamed Capitol Police officer who fatally shot the rioter Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 pro-Trump insurrection, The Wall Street Journal and CNN reported on Monday, citing sources.
The investigation was carried out by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, The Journal reported.
A final decision has not been made on the matter yet, however, and that decision lies with the Justice Department.
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on Tuesday morning.
Babbitt, a 35-year-old veteran of the Air Force and Air National Guard, was shot dead as she tried to climb through a shattered window into the Speaker’s Lobby of the Capitol during last month’s riot.
She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Four others died in the riot, including a 42-year-old Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher by a rioter. So far, no one has been arrested in connection to Sicknick’s death.
As The Journal noted, there would be a high bar when it comes to any charges for the officer who killed Babbitt. Prosecutors would need to prove the officer used excessive force and willfully violated someone’s constitutional rights.
Sources told The Journal the officer might have been acting as a last line of defense between the rioters and members of Congress, which could be a justification for using deadly force.
The officer in question was placed on leave while an investigation into Babbitt’s death took place, and he is expected to return to his previous status, a fellow Capitol Police officer told The Journal.
The officer, however, is said to be afraid of being retaliated against by Trump supporters, according to The Journal.
The incident remains under investigation by the Washington Metropolitan Police, the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, and civil-rights prosecutors, as is custom for shootings involving the Capitol Police, according to CNN.