- The Capitol Police Officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt on Jan 6 revealed his identity for the first time.
- USCP Lt. Michael Byrd, in an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt, said he “tried to wait as long as I could” before pulling the trigger.
- Since Jan. 6, former President Trump and his allies has sought to make Babbitt into a martyr.
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The US Capitol Police Officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt revealed his identity for the first time in an interview Thursday evening with NBC News’s Lester Holt.
USCP Lt. Michael Byrd opened up about the events of Jan. 6 and how he believes he “followed my training” after spending “countless years and preparing for such a moment.”
The officer said it was a “last resort” to pull the trigger, which he said was the first time he had shot his weapon in his 28 years on the force.
“I tried to wait as long as I could,” he told Holt. “I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”
He disputed claims that he acted with a political agenda in fatally shooting Babbitt.
“I do my job for Republican, for Democrat, for white, for Black, red, blue, green,” he said. “I don’t care about your affiliation.”
Byrd, who is Black, detailed the threats he’s received from Trump supporters in the months since then.
“They talked about killing me, cutting off my head,” Byrd said, adding that he was also a target for racist attacks. “It’s all disheartening because I know I was doing my job.”
Byrd also discussed his recent exoneration by an internal investigation conducted by Capitol Police. In April, the Justice Department announced that no charges were being brought against the officer, and there are no further investigations of the incident expected.
“I owned up to it. I was penalized for it. I moved on,” he said.
-NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) August 26, 2021
Babbitt was shot in her left shoulder as she attempted to climb through a shattered window and enter the Speaker’s Lobby behind the House chamber, where members of Congress were evacuating. Byrd said he “could not fully see [Babbitt’s] hands or what was in the backpack” she wore as she climbed through the broken glass.
A graphic video played during the second impeachment trial of former President Trump in February of this year showed the moment Babbitt was shot.
“Nothing will stop us,” tweeted Babbitt – an Air Force veteran who was the only rioter killed by police on January 6 – a day before she died. “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!”
Babbitt was an apparent follower of the Q-Anon conspiracy theory and often tweeted threatening messages about Democratic politicians. In the months since her death, former President Donald Trump has sought to make a martyr out of Babbitt.
“Who shot Ashli Babbitt? Why are they keeping that secret?” Trump asked in a phone interview with Fox News in July. “Who was the person that shot an innocent, wonderful, incredible woman, a military woman?”
Trump also baselessly suggested that a Democratic official may have been connected to her death. “I’ve heard also that it was the head of security for a certain high official, a Democrat,” he said. “And we’ll see, because it’s going to come out.”
Babbitt has also been praised by far-right Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who tweeted in May, “They took her life. They could not take her pride.”
-Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) May 28, 2021