Ashli Babbitt 'Was Posing Threat to United States' Officer Who Killed Capitol Rioter Said

Lieutenant Michael Leroy Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt, has said that she posed a "threat" to the United States.

In a Thursday evening interview, NBC News anchor Lester Holt asked Byrd what he thought Babbitt was doing when he saw her climbing through a shattered glass window into the Speaker's Lobby of the U.S. House chamber. It was at this moment that Byrd shot Babbitt, killing her.

"I tried to wait as long as I could," Byrd 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."

"She was posing a threat to United States House of Representatives," Byrd continued. "I know that day I saved countless 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."

michael leroy byrd ashli babbitt threat
Officer Michael Byrd said that Capitol Rioter Ashli Babbitt had "posed a threat to the United States" when he fatally shot her. This photo shows a woman kneeling at a memorial for Babbitt. Joe Raedle/Getty

In previous interviews, Republican former President Donald Trump called Babbitt an "innocent, wonderful, incredible woman." Trump had also said the officer who shot Babbitt was "getting away with murder."

"It's disheartening," Byrd said of Trump's comments. "I was prepared to do the same thing for him and his family." Byrd said he would've done the same to protect Trump as well, "because it's my job."

Babbitt was an Air Force veteran who served during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. She was also a believer in QAnon. QAnon believers think that a shadowy international child trafficking ring of Satan-worshipping Democrats and Hollywood elites sexually abuse and torture children in order to extract a youth-rejuvenating chemical from their brains.

On August 25, the U.S. Capitol Police said that Byrd had acted lawfully in shooting Babbitt and wouldn't pursue disciplinary charges against him. In April, the Department of Justice announced that it wouldn't present criminal charges against him either. In both instances, the organizations didn't name Byrd out of concern for his safety.

Nevertheless, Terry Roberts, the Babbitt family's lawyer, has planned to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Byrd and the U.S. Capitol Police. The suit has not yet been filed due to a federal law that requires any suit against government agencies to first undergo a months-long notice period.

Roberts says Byrd had no reason to believe that Babbitt posed a threat because she was unarmed. But Byrd's lawyer, Mark Schamel, has said that Babbitt's actions during the riots were violent and criminal.

"If the violent insurrectionist who died had survived," Schamel wrote of Babbitt, "she would have been indicted on felony charges and would have been on her way to prison with her fellow insurrectionists."

Newsweek contacted Schamel for comment.