The Acting House Sergeant at Arms appeared before a House committee and appears to have named Ashli Babbitt’s shooter.
Timothy Blodgett, in an exchange with Rep. Herrera-Buetler during a hearing on Jan. 6 that appeared on C-SPAN, seems to have casually dropped the name.
“The situation where you discussed, where Officer [Byrd] was at the door when Ms. Babbitt was shot, it was our Sergeant at Arms employee who rendered the aid.”
It is interesting that Blodgett names an “Officer Byrd” in the context of Ashli Babbitt’s shooting. An African-American Lieutenant Mike Byrd was reported by Roll Call as having once left his service weapon in a bathroom in 2019.
“A U.S. Capitol Police lieutenant left his service weapon in a bathroom Monday night and the unattended gun was discovered later by another Capitol Police officer,” Roll Call reported.
“After the House adjourned on Monday, Lt. Mike Byrd left his Glock 22 in a bathroom in the Capitol Visitor Center complex, according to sources familiar with the incident,” the report said. “Byrd is the commander of the House Chambers section of the Capitol Police and was on the job Tuesday and Wednesday.”
“Byrd addressed the incident at Tuesday morning’s officer roll call and, according to sources, told fellow officers that he ‘will be treated differently’ because of his rank as a lieutenant,” the report added. “It was not clear what exactly the lieutenant meant by the comment.”
The New York Times reported more information about the unidentified shooter in January, who called him a “lieutenant” and a “veteran officer.” He was not charged for excessive force or for negligence after shooting the unarmed woman. As far as the unidentified police officer is concerned, he is reportedly in hiding. The Capitol Police is directly supervised by the U.S. Congress, and is thus immune from subpoena.
“More than six weeks after Babbitt succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the upper chest, authorities are keeping secret the identity of the officer who fired the fatal round,” Real Clear Investigations’ Paul Sperry noted. “They won’t release his name, and the major news media aren’t clamoring for it, in stark contrast to other high-profile police shootings of unarmed civilians.”
“The officer who opened fire on Babbitt holds the rank of lieutenant and is a longtime veteran of the force who worked protective detail in the Speaker’s Lobby, a highly restricted area behind the House chamber, sources say,” Sperry notes. “An African-American, he was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation led by the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, which shares jurisdiction with the Capitol Police. The Justice Department is also involved in the inquiry.”
In April, the Biden Department of Justice dropped all charges related to an unidentified Capitol police officer’s shooting of Ashli Babbitt.
The unnamed capitol officer held aloft .40-caliber Glock handgun and pointed it at Babbitt, while Sullivan shouts repeatedly that “there is a gun.” The officer shoots her after about 15 seconds, while police officers look on without intervening. The video can be watched below and the incident begins about 45 minutes in (caution: graphic):
A still image of Babbitt’s shooter from the publicly available video above is provided below.
An African American man with a similar hairline and a bracelet or watch on his right wrist can be seen armed with a pistol on the House floor on Jan. 6.
There has been recent speculation about the identity of the shooter. Specifically, there was an article in The Spectator that alleged the shooter was a member of Mike Pence’s Secret Service detail. This would not square with other reports in the press, but this does not immediately discount the conflicting report.
Donald Trump recently asked a simple question: “Who shot Ashli Babbitt?” It appears that the current House Sergeant of Arms may have given the public a possible lead.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.