Reports police officer in US Capitol riots took his own life

Brianne Tolj
·2-min read

A second US Capitol police officer has died following last week’s violent riots.

Capitol Police and the White House said off-duty officer Howard Liebengood, 51, died on Saturday (local time).

He had been assigned to the Senate Division and had been a Capitol police officer since 2005, they said.

Although Capitol Police did not confirm how he died, it has been widely reported that Mr Liebengood is thought to have taken his own life.

It is not clear if his death was linked to the riots, during which five people, including another Capitol police officer, died.

Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood at a "Kid Safety Day". Source: Getty
Capitol Police and the White House said off-duty officer Howard Liebengood, 51, died on Saturday (local time). Source: Getty

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues,” Capitol Police said.

“We ask that his family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this profoundly difficult time.”

Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the Capitol Police Officers' Union, told USA Today in a statement Mr Liebengood’s death has left the force "reeling”.

“Every Capitol Police Officer puts the security of others before their own safety and Officer Liebengood was an example of the selfless service that is the hallmark of the USCP,” Mr Papathanasiou said.

“This is a tragic day.”

A Capitol Police Officer is carried from the Capitol during the riots. Source: AAP
Five people, including a Capitol officer, were killed at the Capitol on Wednesday (local time). Source: AAP

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered her condolences on behalf of the House of Representatives.

“Officer Liebengood was a patriot who dedicated his life to defending the Capitol and protecting all who served work in and visit this temple of our Democracy. His passing is a great tragedy that compounds the horror of this past week,” she said in a statement.

President Donald Trump has ordered the US flag to be flown at half-staff as a sign of respect for two Capitol officers who died, as well as all members of law enforcement across the nation.

Officer Brian Sicknick died on Thursday (local time) after reportedly being pepper-sprayed and hit on the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters seething over Trump’s election loss stormed the Capitol, believing the president’s false claims of a rigged election.

Mr Sicknick joined the Capitol Police in 2008.

USCP officer Brian D. Sicknick. Source: AAP
Officer Brian Sicknick died on Thursday (local time) after reportedly being pepper-sprayed and hit on the head with a fire extinguisher. Source: AAP

with AP

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