Two more police officers tragically die in wake of January 6 Capitol attack
Washington DC – Two more police officers who responded to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol have died by suicide, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in the District of Columbia said on Monday. It now brings the total number to four.
Officer Gunther Hashida, an 18-year veteran on the force, was found dead at his residence on Thursday, department spokesperson Hugh Carew confirmed in a statement to the New York Daily News.
"We are grieving as a department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends," the statement read.
Hashida joined MPD in 2003 and was assigned to a special operations team when he responded on January 6 to the mob of protesters who stormed the Capitol intent on stopping certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral win.
The death is the third reported suicide of an officer who responded to the siege.
Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood and MPD Officer Jeffrey Smith also died by suicide in the days after the attack.
Smith took his life "in the aftermath of that battle," acting chief of police Robert Contee III said during a closed-door meeting with congressional leaders in January.
Liebengood (†51) committed suicide three days after the deadly uprising by Trump supporters.
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died from a stroke a day after he was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher and pelted with pepper-sprayed while fending off far-right rioters.
The Justice Department has charged hundreds of people in connection with the Capitol riots, including two men charged with assaulting Sicknick.
The January 6 insurrection also is the focus of a House select committee investigation.
Update, August 3, 10:35 AM EST: A fourth officer has died by suicide
Late Monday night, the MPD confirmed a fourth police officer had also taken his own life since defending the US Capitol.
Kyle DeFreytag died by suicide early last month. He had been on the force for five years, and was deployed to enforce a curfew and protect the Capitol just after the building was cleared of rioters, the department said.
He was 26.
If you or someone you know need help, please contact the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential support.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire