UPDATE: The officer revealed himself to be Lt. Michael Byrd and said he saved lives by shooting Babbitt.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will reveal his identity for the first time in a televised interview on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
“Speaking out and revealing his identity for the first time, the officer will share his perspective on the events of the day, including the aftermath of the deadly insurrection and the threats he has received,” NBC News said in a release. “He will also discuss the recent news that Capitol Police will not discipline him following an internal review, exonerating him for use of force.”
The officer, whose identity has not been revealed, shot Babbitt after she and a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and tried to gain entry to restricted parts of the building. Babbitt had been climbing through the broken window of a door outside the Speaker’s lobby. She was hit in the left shoulder and fell back from the doorway and onto the floor. She was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where she later died.
In the months since the Capitol riot, Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, has become a martyr to many on the far right, who have demanded the identity of the officer be publicly released.
“I spoke to the wonderful mother and husband of Ashli Babbitt, who was murdered at the hands of someone who should have never pulled the trigger of his gun,” former President Donald Trump said in an emailed statement to news outlets calling for “justice.”
“If this happened to the ‘other side,’ there would be riots all over America, and yet there are far more people represented by Ashli, who truly loved America, than there are on the other side,” the statement continued.
In April, the Justice Department called Babbitt’s death a “tragic loss of life,” but said the officer will not face criminal charges.
An internal investigation cleared the officer of any wrongdoing, Capitol Police said Monday.
A review “determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy,” the department said in a statement, adding that an officer can use deadly force if they “reasonably” believe it is “in the defense of human life” or “of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.”
“The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved Members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where Members and staff were steps away,” the department statement said.