Officer who shot Ashli Babbitt in Capitol riot speaks of the events which led to his decision to fire a shot

"I just want the truth to be told"


Seven months have passed since the Capitol riots during which five people lost their lives. One of them was Officer Brian D. Sicknick who was severely injured while physically engaging with the rioters who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential elections.  

“He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” the Capitol Police statement said at the time of his death.

Three other people were reported to have died of “medical emergencies,” according to the police. The fifth person who lost their life during the riot was 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt from Huntington, Maryland, an ardent Trump supporter who held strong political views.

Babbitt was fatally shot in the shoulder by a member of the US Capitol Police. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Months after the fatal riots, the officer who shot her, Lt. Michael Byrd, gave interview to NBC News’ Lester Holt and spoke of the shocking events that led to his decision to fire a weapon, calling it his “last resort.”

“I tried to wait as long as I could,” he revealed during the interview. “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.”

It was his responsibility to protect the House members who were inside the U.S. House of Representatives chamber.

“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,” he added.

Byrd told the lawmakers to take off their pins and “blend” with the staff members in case they get close to the rioters. He was only able to know what was going on from what he could hear from the police radio; screams by his fellow officers who were attacked with chemical agents.

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

As rioters started smashing the glass doors in an attempt to get their way into the chambers, Babbitt climbed through one of the doors. After pleading the mob to get back, Byrd fired the gun.

Once the public learned it was him who killed Babbitt, he and his family started getting life threats on a daily basis. No matter how devastated he felt, Byrd says he believes he did what he had to. “I know that day I saved countless lives,” he 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 has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Justice Department and the Capitol Police. He claims that he had never had a political agenda, something he’s been accused of. On the contrary, when Trump was president, he escorted him through the Capitol numerous times.

“I do my job for Republican, for Democrat, for white, for Black, red, blue, green. I don’t care about your affiliation,” Byrd added.

He wants people to understand that he was only doing his job the best he could. There was imminent threat and danger to the members of Congress, and he only did what he believed was the right thing to do. He concluded his interview saying: “I just want the truth to be told.”

Byrd has been serving as an officer for 28 years.