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Capitol Police Officer Speaks Out about Fatal Shooting of Ashli Babbitt

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

The Capitol police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 siege said he pulled the trigger to “save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”

For the first time, Lt. Michael Byrd spoke publicly about the Capitol attack and his reasons for firing his weapon during an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Thursday night. 

Byrd, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, said he’s been threatened, and some of the attacks have been racist. 

“They talked about killing me, cutting off my head,” Byrd said. “It’s all disheartening, because I know I was doing my job.”

The interview comes several days after an internal investigation cleared Byrd of wrongdoing, saying he followed department policy, which allows deadly force when there’s a reasonable expectation of serious physical harm to themselves or others. 

“If they get through that door, they’re into the House chamber and upon the members of Congress,” Byrd told NBC, saying Babbitt had been “posing a threat to the United States House of Representatives.” 

Byrd said he saved 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.”

Also on Thursday, seven other Capitol police officers filed a lawsuit against former President Trump and others, including right-wing extremists groups, accusing them of conspiring to promote groundless claims of widespread fraud that fueled the riot.


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