2nd Officer Who Responded To U.S. Capitol Insurrection Dies By Suicide, Chief Says
A second Washington law enforcement officer who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has died by suicide, according to the Metropolitan Police Department’s acting chief.
Officer Jeffrey Smith, 35, killed himself on Jan. 15, acting Chief Robert J. Contee III told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, The Washington Post first reported. He was a 12-year department veteran.
“The costs for this insurrection — both human and monetary — will be steep,” Contee said in his remarks to the committee.
Five people died during the course of the riot, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, 42, who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher by members of the mob. His death is still being investigated and no arrests have been made in the case.
Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, died by suicide days after he responded to the riot.
The insurrection occurred after then-President Donald Trump and several of his allies spoke at a rally at which they fired up a massive crowd near the White House with a litany of false claims that last November’s election that Trump lost was “rigged.” At Trump’s urging, thousands of the rally-goers then marched to the Capitol.
A total of 65 officers were injured during the resulting siege, Contee said during his Tuesday testimony.
“We honor the service and sacrifices of Officers Brian Sicknick, Howard Liebengood, and Jeffery Smith, and offer condolences to all the grieving families,” Contee said in his remarks.
He spoke to lawmakers as part of a briefing into the failures by law enforcement to stem the mob. Among those failures was a lack of preparedness that allowed rioters to breach the Capitol, Contee said. Stephen Sund resigned as chief of the Capitol police force following the siege after being criticized for failing to better safeguard the building by the officers’ union and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The House impeached Trump on a charge of inciting the insurrection and a Senate trial of the charge will be held next month.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.
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