A Third Cop Who Served During the Capitol Riot Has Died by Suicide

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department confirmed in a statement that officer Gunther Hashida died on July 29.
August 2, 2021, 7:20pm
Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.
Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.(Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

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A police officer who helped stop the Capitol riot has died by suicide, making him the third officer who served on that day to take his own life in the aftermath.

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Washington Metropolitan Police Department officer Gunther Hashida died on July 29, the MPD confirmed in a statement Monday.

“Officer Gunther Hashida, assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division, was found deceased in his residence on Thursday, July 29,” the MPD said. “We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends. 

Hashida, who joined the department in 2003, is the third officer to die by suicide after the tragic day, joining D.C. MPD officer Jeffrey Smith and U.S. Capitol officer Howard Liebengood, who both killed themselves soon after January 6.

Hashida’s death at age 43 comes less than a week after multiple officers testified about the horrific violence, racial slurs, and trauma they faced as a mob of violent insurrectionists who supported then-President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. Multiple officers testified that they’d suffered both lingering physical pain and ongoing psychological problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, in the wake of the attack.

“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend, are downplaying or outright denying what happened,” Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone said last week in testimony to a House select committee investigating the causes of Jan. 6. “I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. But too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or hell actually wasn’t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick also died shortly after sustaining injuries while defending the Capitol. A medical examiner later determined that he’d died of “natural causes,” a stroke, rather than directly from the injuries he sustained from rioters.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, help is available. Call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone now or text START to 741741 to message with the Crisis Text Line.