The police officer who shot and killed Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 incident on Capitol Hill was interviewed on TV after being publicly identified. In his statements, he justified his actions.
The police officer identified as Lt. Michael Byrd, an Air Force veteran, exonerated for Babbitt’s death, gave an interview to NBC on Thursday, Aug. 26, in which he claimed he was doing his job.
The police officer shot and killed Babbitt as she tried to enter through a broken window in the lobby of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Byrd said that before firing, he warned the protesters to stand down but that his warnings were not heeded, so he decided to shoot the Trump supporter.
“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,” the cop assured. “I know that day I saved countless lives.”
Byrd said he was very frightened when he heard over the radio that protesters had penetrated the congressional grounds in several places. However, none of the demonstrators were carrying weapons, and no shots were fired.
“At that point I realized they were here,” Byrd said. “The chants got louder. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but it sounded like hundreds of people outside of that door.”
When asked by the reporter why he was the only one who used his gun when other police officers in the same place did not fire and considering Ashli Babbitt was not armed, he replied:
“I’m sure it was a terrifying situation. I can only control my reaction, my training, my level of expertise. That would be upon them to speak for themselves.”
Byrd shared that after his identity was made known, Trump supporters threatened to kill him, cut off his head, and made racist comments. “It’s all disheartening because I know I was doing my job,” the cop argued.
According to the New York Post, Trump said earlier this month that Babbitt was “killed at the hands of someone who should never have pulled the trigger on his gun” and called for “justice.”
But Byrd didn’t take it personally and said he would have done the same thing if Trump were in the same position.
“I do my job for Republican, for Democrat, for white, for black, red, blue, green,” he explained. “I don’t care what their affiliation is.”
In the NBC interview, Babbitt’s widower, Aaron, told Fox News Thursday night that he was “pissed off” by Byrd’s statements.
“I don’t even want to hear him talk about how he’s getting death threats and he’s scared. I’ve been getting death threats since Jan. 7. Two, three, five, ten a day, you know? And all I did on Jan. 6 was become a widower, so you’re gonna have to suck it up, bud, and take it,” said her husband to Tucker Carlson.
Attorney Terry Roberts, who represents the Babbitt family, recently called Babbitts’ death an “ambush” and said the family is preparing to file a $10 million lawsuit against Byrd and the Capitol Police.
Also, this week, the FBI released its report after investigating and arresting hundreds of people who were on Capitol Hill that day. It claims to have found no evidence of a coordinated action to storm the Capitol grounds, except for some calls and messages among the Proud Boys that recommended their members wear bulletproof vests and protective gear.
The findings of the FBI report represent a blow to Democrats who had hoped to implicate former President Donald Trump and his supporters with the violent acts that occurred that fateful day on Capitol Hill.