Police officer who responded to US Capitol riot is third to die by suicide

Gunther Hashida (44) found dead at home on July 29th, Washington DC police say

 

A third police officer who defended the US Capitol during the January 6th insurrection by extremist supporters of Donald Trump has taken his own life, Washington DC’s Metropolitan police department confirmed on Monday.

Officer Gunther Hashida, who was assigned to the emergency response team within the special operations department, was found dead at home on July 29th, the department said.

Mr Hashida (44) joined the force in May 2003 and was among those who responded to the Capitol attack, spokeswoman Brianna Burch confirmed to the Guardian.

“We are grieving as a department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” Ms Burch said.

Mr Hashida is survived by his wife, Romelia, and three children, his sister and other members of a “wonderful family”, according to an online fundraising campaign established in his memory.

The death of Mr Hashida is the third known instance of a suicide by law enforcement officers related to the January 6th insurrection, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a violent attempt to stop the certification of US president Joe Biden’s election win.

The attempt failed and Mr Biden’s victory over Trump from the 2020 election was certified by Congress in the early hours of the following morning.

Outnumbered officers

But the attack on the Capitol, which lasted several hours, involved rioters attacking outnumbered officers to break into the building in a failed effort to hunt down politicians, including then vice-president Mike Pence.

Mr Trump was impeached, for an unprecedented second time, on the charge of inciting the insurrection, and acquitted in February by the Senate.

Officer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the force, and Officer Howard Liebengood, a 16-year Capitol police veteran, also responded to the January 6th attack and later died by suicide.

Mr Hashida’s death comes a week after officers testified to a House select committee about their harrowing experiences defending Congress.

Almost 600 people have been criminally charged for their part in the events. – Guardian

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