Authorities have identified the four individuals who died during the violent pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol, including an Alabama sales representative who tweeted COVID-19 cure hoaxes and a Georgia woman who was reportedly crushed in the crowd.
Benjamin Philips, a 50-year-old from Pennsylvania, Kevin Greeson, a 55-year-old from Alabama, and 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland from Georgia died on Wednesday after suffering "medical emergencies" while "on the grounds of the Capitol," Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said.
Ashli Babbitt, 35, was fatally shot by a plainclothes cop after climbing through a broken window and trying to enter the House chamber. More than 50 Capitol and D.C. police were injured during the riot as Congress met to confirm Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, including several who were hospitalized. All four deaths are under investigation.
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While authorities haven't provided details on the medical emergencies, Greeson's son said his father died from a heart attack mid-protest. Boyland died after being crushed by the crowd, according to one report, while Philips had a stroke, fellow protesters said.
"My dad had a heart attack yesterday and sadly passed away," Kyler Greeson said in a statement. "We all loved him so much. He made me the man I am today. Always going...to car shows to support me and to enjoy the cars together. Him, my brother, and I would ride motorcycles together and have a great time. He was such a great man we all miss you so much. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers."
The New York Times reported Greeson collapsed while speaking to his wife on the phone among a crowd of fellow Trump supporters on the west side of the Capitol building. Emergency personnel rushed over to help the father-of-five and began to perform chest compressions-but were unable to revive him, the report states.
His wife, Kristie Greeson, told the Times her husband-who suffered from high blood pressure-was excited to attend the Trump rally because he believed the election had been stolen from the president.
"He felt like it was a monumental event in his mind," she said, noting her husband left their home on Tuesday and spent the night with a friend in Virginia. "I didn't want him to go. I didn't feel like it was safe."
Greeson's wife also noted that her husband was a "political junkie" who "saw the good and bad in Trump." His social media accounts confirmed his affinity for the president.
In one July 28 tweet, Greeson falsely claimed, "Hydroxychloroquine zinc and z-pac works to cure you from Covid-19" before adding: "Trump 2020...Twitter sucks!" (There is no conclusive evidence that zithromax and azithromycin, used to treat various infections, and hydroxychloroquine, used to treat or prevent malaria, can cure COVID-19.)
Greeson only posted six times on Twitter since he joined in 2019. While most are tweets supporting Trump's 2020 campaign, the 55-year-old also called former Ohio Gov. John Kasich-an outspoken critic of Trump-an "idiot."
According to his LinkedIn, Greeson had been a senior sales representative at Allied Mineral Products in Athens for the last five months and had over 20 years of experience in "safety management and sales management." He had previously worked at Goodyear Textile Mill as a safety training coordinator for 21 years until 2006.
Without confirming Boyland's name, police said a woman was crushed to death amongst the crowd at the Capitol, according to Axios.
In an interview with News 11 Alive, one of Boyland's sisters described her as a "really happy, wonderful person" and shared a photo of her smiling with a tattoo across her chest that says, "Beautiful Disaster."
The Kennesaw, Georgia resident had a slew of run-ins with the law. Court records indicate she pleaded guilty to heroin and cocaine charges as well as receiving stolen property in 2011. Boyland was also charged with heroin possession or distribution at least four other times in Fulton and Cobb Counties, in addition to battery charges, obstruction of law enforcement, and trespass over the years.
On her Facebook account, Boyland shared posts from far-right activist group Project Veritas and videos of Trump's rallies. In one post, she reshared anti-vaxxer and coronavirus conspiracy theories. "I understand Covid can be deadly or very dangerous for SOME people, but so are peanuts, strawberries, and so is shellfish," the post says.
In another post shared on Jan.3, Boyland falsely said that all hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores in D.C. would be closed until mid-January to prevent Trump supporters from converging on the city.
"For all the Patriots heading to D.C. bring EXTRA food, water, blankets, supplies, and have a plan of where to sleep. Patriots not going to D.C. please Echo this info," the post said.
Philips, a Pennsylvania computer programmer, died of a stroke, just hours after driving a white van to the rally and coordinating transport for several of his fellow Trump supporters, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the Inquirer, he'd said before the protest: "It seems like the first day of the rest of our lives, to be honest… They should name this year Zero because something will happen."
According to a LinkedIn matching his name, Philips was the founder of TRUMPAROO.com, a now-defunct website for MAGA supporters, and had graduated with a degree in computer science from Temple University. He told the Inquirer earlier this week that he named the site after a stuffed kangaroo he made, which had orange hair and red, white, and blue boxing gloves-and was meant to resemble Trump.
Gordy Smith, one protester who traveled with Philips to D.C., said he started calling Philips when the 50-year-old didn't show up to the group's meeting post at 6 p.m to return home. Finally, Smith told the Inquirer, a police officer picked up the phone and said he'd suffered a stroke and died at George Washington University Hospital.
"Everyone was shocked," Smith said. "It was a very somber drive home."
Babbitt, an Ocean Beach, California resident and a 14-year Air Force veteran, had posted in support of the violent QAnon conspiracy theory and was unrelenting in her support for the president. In total, she sent 21 tweets referencing the QAnon slogan, starting in February 2020. She also appeared to embrace conspiracy theories that hospitals are claiming fake coronavirus patients.
Her husband, Aaron Babbitt, told KUSI he didn't travel with her to D.C. and was due to pick her up from the airport on Friday.
"Ashli was both loyal as well as extremely passionate about what she believed in," Babbitt's brother-in-law Justin Jackson told KNSD-TV. "She loved this country and felt honored to have served in our Armed Forces."
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