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.
Exclusive: The Capitol cop who shot Trump backer Ashli Babbitt told @LesterHoltNBC he’s been in hiding after death threats — but knows he did the right thing. “I know I saved countless lives,” said Lt. Michael Byrd. For more watch @NBCNightlyNews tonight. https://t.co/1F51H1fVOD
— NBC Investigations (@NBCInvestigates) August 26, 2021
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.
“I was staggered to learn that it was Lt. Byrd who made that announcement on the floor of the House. For the last 7 months I have wondered who was it who was trying to help save our lives,” @RepDean says thanking U.S. Capitol Police Officer Lt. Michael Byrd. #TheReidOut #reiders pic.twitter.com/wUyuGQZCBE
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) August 26, 2021
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.
Officer who shot Ashli Babbitt speaks after months in hiding: ‘I saved countless lives’:
-That took balls to show himself amid death threats. Lt. Michael Byrd is a true HERO! A real patriot. pic.twitter.com/m8HY0RYoLy
— Dr. Jeff Rabinowitz (#VotesBlueIn22) (@rxjef77) August 27, 2021
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.
Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot, says he has been in hiding for months after he received a flood of death threats and racist attacks.
“I believe I showed the utmost courage on Jan. 6 and it’s time for me to do that now” pic.twitter.com/2kaAxy8yGc
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 26, 2021
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.