Real Clear Investigations:
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. 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 secrecy has fueled Internet reports misidentifying the shooter as a Capitol Police special agent previously commended by President Trump for bravery. The false rumors have triggered threats against the officer.
Drawing on interviews with informed sources and available documents, RealClearInvestigations has put together a portrait of the actual shooter and the shooting, which some describe as completely justified and others call murder.
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. 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. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the officer has been interviewed and cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a preliminary investigation, suggesting that the police killing may soon be ruled justifiable homicide. But D.C. Police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz told RCI, “This case remains under active investigation.”
The well-placed sources told RCI the plainclothes officer has gone into hiding out of fear for his safety. They said he worries about reports that some of those arrested in the riots have declared “open (hunting) season” on whoever killed Babbitt, now a martyr in their cause.