Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt reveals his identity

Lt Michael Byrd publicly revealed himself as the Capitol Police officer who shot January 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt (Pictures: NBC/AP)

The Capitol Police officer who fatally shot January 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt revealed his identity to the public and stood by his actions, claiming he saved ‘countless lives’. Lt Michael Byrd came forward in an exclusive sit-down interview with NBC Nightly News on Thursday, more than seven months after the deadly insurrection.

Byrd, on the force for 28 years, said he opened fire during the Capitol breach by supporters of former President Donald Trump as a ‘last resort’. Between 60 and 80 House members and staff were sheltering in place behind the glass doors of the Speaker’s Lobby.

‘Once we barricaded the doors, we were essentially trapped where we were,’ Byrd told NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt. ‘There was no way to retreat. No other way to get out.’

Byrd, who was exonerated on Monday in an internal investigation by the United States Capitol Police, said ‘tried to wait as long as I could’.

‘I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors,’ he said. ‘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.’

Byrd, who is black, fired one shot at Babbitt, who tried to crawl through a broken window pane. The Air Force veteran fell back and hit her shoulder, and died later.

The Capitol Police officer said he was ‘very afraid’ during the insurrection and is still fearful ‘because I know there’s people that disagree with my actions on January the 6th’.

However, Byrd said, ‘I hope they understand I did my job’ and referenced ‘imminent threats and danger’ to Congress members.

US Capitol Police did not name Byrd in the results of its investigation concluding he would not face disciplinary action. But his name had been floated by a conservative activist and some media outlets. Byrd said he has faced racist attacks and threats.

‘They talked about killing me, cutting off my head. It’s all disheartening because I know I was doing my job,’ he said.

‘I know that day I saved countless lives. I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job.’

Byrd was asked if he had anything to say to Babbitt’s family.

‘What I would like to say is to all the families from January the 6th, that their family members received injury or lost of life, that my heart goes out to them,’ Byrd replied. ‘I’m sorry for their loss and what they’re dealing with and I pray that they find peace and comfort.’

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