Amidst of the chaos of the January 6th attempted insurrection at the US Capitol, a young woman name Ashli Babbitt was killed by a Capitol Police officer.
Babbitt had entered the Capitol with a large mob, and was attempting to breach a secured area of the inner chamber, just feet away from congressional lawmakers were being evacuated to safety. After repeatedly not complying with an officer’s warnings, Babbitt attempted to enter the area via a broken window, at which point she was shot and killed.
The far-right has made her a martyr, while the left continues to portray her as a domestic terrorist.
And, in their arguing, many on the right have suggested that the officer involved in her death should be on trial for her murder.
That officer, whose identity has been a keen point of speculation among Trump supporters, revealed himself to the world this week as Lt. Michael Byrd, and he maintains that he did his job on January 6th.
“Once we barricaded the doors, we were essentially trapped where we were,” Byrd said in an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, speaking publicly for the first time since the riot. “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,” added Byrd, who gave NBC News permission to use his name after authorities had declined to release it.
“I know that day I saved countless lives,” Byrd 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 said he had no idea whether the person he shot was carrying a weapon. It was only later that night that he found out that the rioter was a woman who was unarmed.
Asked why he pulled the trigger, Byrd said it was a “last resort.”
“I tried to wait as long as I could,” he told 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.”
The news, and Byrd’s insistence on his decision, will not likely sit well with Trump supporters, many of whom have been keenly critical of the lack of legal trouble Byrd is facing.