Two more police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol have died by suicide, the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington said Monday.
The deaths bring the total number of officers who were at the Capitol that day and later took their own lives to four.
What You Need To Know
- Two more police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol have died by suicide, the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington said Monday
- The deaths bring the total number of officers who were at the Capitol that day and later took their own lives to four
- The department released a statement announcing that Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead at his home Thursday; hours later, it also confirmed that Officer Kyle DeFreytag died by suicide on July 10
- If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or text HOME to 741741 for support from the Crisis Text Line.
The department released a statement announcing that Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead at his home Thursday.
"We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends," the department said in a statement.
Hashida joined the police force in 2003 and was assigned to its Emergency Response Team.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released her own statement calling Hashida a “a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy.”
"All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service,” she said.
Hours after announcing Hashida’s death, MPD also confirmed that Officer Kyle DeFreytag died by suicide on July 10.
DeFreytag had been with the department since 2016 and was assigned to the Fifth District, which covers much of the northeastern part of the city.
President Joe Biden memorialized the two fallen officers in a Twitter post Tuesday: "When the United States Capitol and our very democracy were under attack on January 6th, Officers Hashida and DeFreytag courageously risked their lives to defend them."
"They were American heroes," Biden continued. "Jill and I are keeping their loved ones in our prayers during this difficult time."
The police department did not draw any link between the officers’ suicides and the Capitol riot, carried out by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump intent on disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election.
More than 140 law enforcement officers were injured at the Capitol. Two others had previously taken their own lives: Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood on Jan. 9 and Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith on Jan. 15. Both officers’ families have blamed the riot for their deaths and are urging their respective departments to recognize them as having died in the line of duty.
Another officer, Brian Sicknick of the Capitol Police, died after suffering two strokes the day after he confronted rioters. A medical examiner’s report, however, did not directly link the melee with Sicknick’s death, saying he died of natural causes.
Last week, four law enforcement officers who served at the Capitol on Jan. 6 testified before the House select committee investigating the riot, with some describing the psychological trauma they’re still dealing with more than six months later.
During his testimony, Capitol Police Office Harry Dunn made a plea to his colleagues to seek help if they are struggling.
“There's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” he said. “What we went through that day was traumatic. And if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”
Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was beaten on Jan. 6 and also testified on Capitol Hill last week, told The Washington Post he knew Hashida for years and worked with him in the 1st District
“He was the most dedicated police officer I had the privilege to work with,” Fanone told the newspaper. “He loved his job and his passion was unmatched.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or text HOME to 741741 for support from the Crisis Text Line.