The confirmed identification of who shot Ashli Babbitt inside the Capitol building on January 6 still remains unknown to the public. A new name, Lt. Michael L. Byrd of the Capitol Hill police, has been uncovered by investigative journalists, pointing to the potential end of a six-month mystery.
According to RealClearInvestigations, Byrd, who was addressed by name during a brief discussion of the officer who shot Babbitt at a Feb. 25 House hearing, matches the description of the shooter.
"Video footage shows is an African American dressed that day in a business suit," said RCI, adding that "jewelry, including a beaded bracelet and lapel pin, also match up with photos of Byrd."
"In addition, Byrd’s resume lines up with what is known about the experience and position of the officer involved in the shooting — a veteran USCP officer who holds the rank of lieutenant and is the commander of the House Chamber Section of the Capitol Police," the outlet continues.
RCI said that despite numerous calls and emails to Byrd, they have not received a response to the officer who is currently on administrative leave. His attorney also would neither confirm nor deny the allegations, warning that Byrd’s name being released could pose a safety risk.
"He said the officer has received 'credible' death threats and has gone into hiding. He would not provide further details about the type of threats or whether they have been reported to the FBI," wrote RCI.
Unlike most police departments, including the DC Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Capitol Police is not required to release the names of officers involved in fatal shootings. Despite promises from both the USCP and DCMPD that they would release more information as their investigations wrap up, months have passed since their endings and no information has been released to the public.
The USCP is also exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.
Increasingly frustrated over the lack of information from the USCP, the Babbitt family is suing the DCMPD "for documents that identify the officer who shot Babbitt ... as well as notes and summaries of what the officer said regarding the shooting and the reasons he discharged his weapon."
The DCMPD led their own investigation into the shooting, and does have to abide by FOIA requests.
"They sit back and they completely refuse to release the name of their own police officer that was involved in a shooting of an unarmed woman,” said Aaron Babbitt, husband of Ashli. "It’s ridiculous, it’s absolutely ridiculous."
Attorney for the case, Terry Roberts, said he has received no information from the USCP regarding the case, but an investigator from his office has positively identified the shooter from a "painstaking" analysis of evidence gathered that day from those at the Capitol.
A key witness, freelance journalist Taylor Hansen who was there when Babbitt was shot, claims that he identified Byrd as the one who shot Babbitt.
"Hansen was present when Ashli was shot," Roberts told RCI. "He has spoken with my investigator. He provided a reliable and accurate account of what he saw; he also made a video recording, which proved useful."
Roberts is not naming the officer as a defendant just yet, but told RCI, "He’s a guy who left his service revolver in a bathroom."
Byrd was investigated back in February of 2019 for leaving his department-issued Glock-22 firearm in a Capitol building restroom, unattended. Another officer discovered the firearm during a routine sweep later on. The same style gun was reportedly used in the shooting of Babbitt.