Another Capitol Police Officer Dies by Suicide in Wake of Riot

A second police officer who responded to the Capitol riot earlier this month has died by suicide, the D.C. police chief said Tuesday night. Jeffery Smith worked for the Metropolitan Police Department for 12 years and died on Jan. 15 — just nine days after thousands of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

Acting MPD chief Robert J. Contee told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, "Tragically, two officers who were at the Capitol on January 6th, one each from the Capitol Police and MPD, took their won lives in the aftermath of that battle." MPD Second District Commander Duncan Bedlon told The Daily Beast that Smith's "service and presence would be dearly missed at the Second District."

Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood, who had guarded the government building since 2005, took his own life on Jan. 9. The son of the late Sergeant at Arms Howard S. Liebengood, the 51-year-old, worked in the Senate Division. "Every Capitol Police Officer puts the security of others before their own safety and Officer Liebengood was an example of the selfless service that is the hallmark of the USCP," Gus Papathanasiou, the chair of the Capitol Police Labor Committee, said in a statement after Liebengood’s death. "This is a tragic day."

Another Capitol Police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, died the day after the riot "due to injuries sustained while on duty," the Capitol Police said in a statement earlier month. He was injured while "physically engaging" with the rioters and collapsed when he returned to his division. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

A crowdfunding page set up to help Sicknick's family has raised over $700,000. The authorized GoFundMe was established by one of his colleagues, Lindsey Taylor. "There are no words to describe the loss of Officer Brian Sicknick," Taylor wrote. "He will forever be remembered for his bravery and service to our country as a member of the military and a United States Capitol Police Officer."

Four insurrectionists also died during the siege, including a woman who was shot by police while trying to break into the House chamber, a 55-year-old Alabama man who had a heart attack, a Georgia woman who was reportedly crushed in the crowd, and a Philadelphia man who suffered a stroke.

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Contee said MPD sent 850 police officers to the Capitol, nearly a quarter of its force, to assist, 65 of which reported injuries from the attack. Many more had wounds such as "scratches, bruises, eyes burning from bear mace — that they did not even bother to report," he said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.