Capitol police officer Lt Michael Byrd, who admitted to shooting Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 Capitol Insurrection, once left a loaded gun in the bathroom on the federal building. Byrd identified himself as the cop who shot Babbitt during an interview with NBC.
Former U.S. President Donald had claimed multiple times that he was aware about the identity of the person who shot Babbitt. "Who shot Ashli Babbit? Why are they keeping that secret?" he had said during an interview with FOX News. "I've heard also that it was the head of security for a certain high official â a Democrat â and we'll see. It's gonna come out."
Byrd Said Pulling Trigger Was the Last Resort
The video that emerged soon after Babbitt's death shows the horrifying moment Babbitt is shot through one of the broken window frames in the Capitol after which she collapses on the ground. Babbitt, who was a 14-year Air Force veteran, was shot in the chest after chaos broke out when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed into the Capitol breaching security parameters. She died hours later.
Defending his decision to shoot Babbitt, right in the light of the circumstances, Byrd told NBC: "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."
Claiming that he had no idea if Babbitt was carrying a weapon or not, Byrd on being asked why he pulled the trigger said it was "last resort."
"I tried to wait as long as I could," he told NBC News' Lester 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."
Byrd Was Involved in Gun-Related Incident in 2019
It isn't the first time that Byrd's name has hit the spotlight. In February 2019 Byrd was named as the Capitol Police officer who left his loaded service weapon unattended in a bathroom.
Roll Call reported that the weapon was discovered by another Capitol Cop. In the incident, which took place after the House adjourned, Byrd left his Glock 22 in a bathroom in the Capitol Visitor Center complex. Byrd, who was the commander of the House Chambers section of the Capitol Police, told his colleagues next day that he "will be treated differently" because of his rank as a lieutenant, sources revealed to the outlet.
Earlier, in statement issued to New York Post, Byrd's attorney Mark Schamel said that he was forced to come forward because he was already identified by multiple unscrupulous outlets and has received hundreds of death threats. "He has had to live in hiding because the FBI threat assessment was so serious," said Schamel.