Officer Who Shot Ashli Babbitt Preparing To Make Known His Identity

( The officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol building revealed himself in an interview with Lester Holt on NBC News.

On Thursday, Lieutenant Michael Byrd spoke out about his involvement in the January 6 shooting that left Babbitt dead. While a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol building, Byrd and other officers were protecting the 60 to 80 members of the House of Representatives who were holed up inside the building.

To prevent the mob from entering, Byrd and some other officers from the U.S. Capitol Police barricaded the doors with furniture. As he explained to Holt:

“Once we barricaded the doors, we were essentially trapped where we were. There was no way to retreat. No other way to get out.

“If they get through that door, they’re into the House chamber and upon the members of Congress.”

Authorities had previously declined to release Byrd’s name to the public, but he gave NBC News permission to use his name as part of the exclusive interview that aired Thursday night.

Byrd described a chaotic scene in which he was only understanding what was happening because of messages being communicated over his radio. Some of his fellow officers were screaming as they were being attacked by the rioters.

He even said that one report that came over the radio was that an officer had his fingertips blown off. He said:

“It was literally broadcast over the air. I said, ‘OK, this is getting serious.'”

As demonstrators approached where Byrd and his fellow officers were, he drew his gun and took a defensive stance. Some of the rioters smashed the glass door that was separating them from the officers.

Byrd said he yelled at them over and over again to stay back, but they kept moving forward.

One member of the mob attempted to climb through one of the doors separating them from the officers. The incident that proceeded was caught on video, and was broadcast to much of the world.

The video showed that Byrd fired one single shot, which struck Babbitt, a 35-year-old who was a veteran of the Air Force, in the shoulder. Later in the day, Babbitt succumbed to her injuries.

Following the incident, Byrd, who is a Black man, said his life has been in upheaval. He’s been hiding ever since, after receiving multiple racist attacks and death threats.

Conservative groups who supported the January 6 attack leaked his name onto websites that they frequent, and started to attack him verbally once they tracked him down.

Despite all that happened that day and since, Byrd still told Holt that he doesn’t have any doubts that what he did was the right decision given all that was going on. 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.”