Third officer commits suicide after responding to Capitol riot

·3 min read

Another police officer who responded to the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan 6. has died by suicide, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Officer Gunther Hashida, an 18-year veteran of the force in Washington, D.C., was found dead in his residence on Thursday. The cause of death was suicide, police told the Washington Examiner.

Hashida, who joined the department in May 2003, was assigned to the emergency response team within the Special Operations Division and responded to the riot.

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"We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends," the department said in a statement.

Hashida's suicide is the third among law enforcement officers who responded to the Capitol on Jan. 6, one of whom also worked for D.C. police.

MPD Officer Jeffrey Smith, who served for 12 years also took his own life following the riot, as did Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, who was a 15-year veteran.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick also died after responding to the riot but not by suicide.

Sicknick was sprayed with a chemical substance on the afternoon of Jan. 6 while at the riot scene. He collapsed at the Capitol that night and died at a hospital on Jan. 7. Sicknick's death was caused by two strokes and was deemed to be "natural," the D.C. Medical Examiner's office said in April.

Smith's widow blamed what he experienced at the riot for his death.

“When my husband left for work that day, he was the Jeff that I knew,” Erin Smith, who is seeking to have her husband's suicide deemed a line-of-duty-death, recently told the New York Times. “When he returned after experiencing the event, being hit in the head, he was a completely different person. I do believe if he did not go to work that day, he would be here, and we would not be having this conversation.”

Washington police did not immediately disclose any details about Hashida's work status following the riot or additional circumstances surrounding his death.

Hashida's passing came just a few days after the U.S. House's select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot held its first hearing, which included testimony from officers recalling what one described as the "hell" experienced when responding to Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shared her condolences with Hashida's family and MPD on Monday.

"Officer Hashida was a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy," Pelosi said in a statement. "All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service."

A GoFundMe that was set up in Hashida's name on Sunday had raised upwards of $16,500 as of Monday afternoon.

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"In his work as an officer with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, he worked to serve and protect the public," the fundraiser said. "He was a devoted and loving husband and father."

Hashida leaves behind a wife, sister, and three children, according to the GoFundMe page.

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Tags: News, Police, Washington D.C., January 6, Capitol Hill, Law Enforcement

Original Author: Jeremy Beaman

Original Location: Third officer commits suicide after responding to Capitol riot

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