A US Capitol Police officer on duty during Wednesday’s coup attempt by Trump supporters died by suicide on Saturday, his family has announced.
Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, had been assigned to the Senate Division and joined the department in 2005.
Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Liebengood’s family, told BuzzFeed News the officer had been at the Capitol during the insurrection.
“His death is a tragedy that has deprived all of us a dedicated public servant,” Pollack said. “His family has suffered a devastating loss and asks that they be given space to grieve in private.”
His death came days after an attempted coup by violent Trump supporters left a fellow Capitol Police officer dead. Officer Brian Sicknick was injured while “physically engaging” with rioters, then later died at a hospital.
According to CBS News, several USCP officers have threatened self-harm in the days following the riot.
The union representing USCP said the dead officers’ service will not be forgotten.
“We are reeling from the death of Officer Liebengood,” US Capitol Police Labor Committee chair Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement. “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 USCP.”
Members of Congress also remembered Liebengood.
“He was friendly, professional, and dedicated to the job,” Sen. Roy Blunt said in a statement Sunday. “I appreciate everything he did to keep us safe.”
Rep. Dean Phillips said he mourned Liebengood, but he also called for accountability for the failures in Wednesday’s response.
“Our officers need more than gratitude,” he said in a tweet. “They need authentic, capable leadership and meaningful support, and I call on my colleagues to join me demanding it immediately.”
Others also remembered Liebengood as a friendly face within the Capitol building.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line.