Capitol Police Officer Who Shot Ashli Babbitt Reveals Himself, Defends His Actions
The U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot insurrectionist rioter Ashli Babbitt as she attempted to climb through a smashed out door window and onto the House floor says he is proud of his actions in defending members of Congress and their staffs during the Jan. 6 riot.
Veteran officer Lt. Michael Bryd, whose identity had been protected since the deadly Capitol siege, revealed himself in an exclusive interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in an effort to “take control” of the narrative of his actions that January day. Earlier this week an internal review by the Capitol Police determined that Bryd acted lawfully and adhered to department policy in discharging his service weapon to prevent the Trump supporter from advancing further into the Capitol. The lieutenant will not face criminal charges as a result of the shooting.
Byrd told Holt that he has come forward to tell his truth about the events of Jan. 6. “Once we barricaded the doors, we were essentially trapped where we were,” Byrd said. “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.”
Byrd is convinced he did the right thing. “I know that day I saved countless lives,” Byrd said. “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 said he had no idea if the person he shot was carrying a weapon. It was only later that night that he found out the rioter was a woman who was unarmed.
Asked why he pulled the trigger, Byrd said it was a “last resort.”
“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.”
“The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved Members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where Members and staff were steps away,” Capitol Police said in announcing the results of the probe.
Twice-impeached, one-term former president Donald Trump and other insurrection deniers have tried to paint the officer who shot her as a “murderer” and Babbitt as some sort of patriotic defender of freedom.