A U.S. Capitol Police officer reportedly died by suicide three days after the force was plunged into chaos when supporters of Donald Trump stormed Congress.
Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, died on Saturday while off duty, USCP said in a statement.
Unconfirmed reports on social media claimed Liebengood had committed suicide. The USCP did not reveal a cause of death.
Liebengood is the second Capitol Hill police officer to die in the days since Trump supporters stormed the building in an attempt to block certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
The other officer, Brian Sicknick, died Thursday after allegedly being hit in the head by a fire extinguisher during the riots.
US Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood (pictured) died on Saturday aged 51
Liebengood is the second Capitol Hill police officer to die in the days following the storming of Congress by Trump supporters in an attempt to block certification of Joe Biden’s election victory
Liebengood had worked at the UCSP since April 2005 and was assigned to the Senate division.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues,” the agency said in its statement. “We demand that his family and other USCP agents” and the privacy of their families be respected during this deeply difficult time. “
Liebengood was the son of former Senate senior adviser Howard S Liebengood, who served as a Sergeant-at-Arms on Capitol Hill from 1981 to 1983 and died of a heart attack aged 62 in 2005.
The USCP did not suggest that young Liebengood’s death had anything to do with last week’s riots on Capitol Hill, which claimed the life of his colleague, Sicknick.
Brian Sicknick (pictured), died Thursday after being hit in the head by a fire extinguisher during the MAGA riots on the Capitol on Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors have opened a murder investigation into the death of Sicknick, 42, after he claimed he was “hit on the head with a fire extinguisher” during the riots.
Sicknick was the fifth person to die from Wednesday’s insurgency, but he was the only cop – the other four were all Trump fanatics.
His social media pages indicate that he, like the crowd, supported Trump.
It is unclear where he was when he was allegedly assaulted or whether or not he was alone and outnumbered, as many of his colleagues were.
Police say he was injured as he “engaged” with the crowd.
He then returned to his division office, where he collapsed, and was taken to hospital where he was briefly put on life support.
On Thursday night, hundreds of Sicknick’s colleagues walked the streets of DC to honor him as his body was transported to the morgue.
His family has since revealed that he wanted to be a cop his whole life.
“Brian is a hero and that’s what we would like people to remember,” said his brother Ken
They stood up to greet him and flashed the sirens as he passed.
President Nancy Pelosi ordered that the flags on Capitol Hill be reduced to half staff in honor of the fallen officer.
Pro-Trump insurgents stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday in an attack that left the country stunned
Capitol Police salute fallen colleague Sicknick on Friday after carrying the Capitol flag to half staff
Police motorcade escorts Sicknick’s body on Constitution Avenue Thursday evening
Hundreds of Capitol Police cops took to the streets Thursday night to honor Sicknick
The USCP has faced strong criticism for its inability to stop the riots.
Chief Steven Sund resigned under pressure on Thursday amid claims the force was being deliberately under-sustained to avoid igniting tensions with what could have been seen as a bad lens.
Anonymous sources told the Wall St Journal on Thursday that defense and police officials do not want to line the streets with armed National Guards, as they did in the summer at the height of the BLM movement, as it would have increased the already seething tension in the Capitol.
Instead, fewer than 2,000 Capitol Hill cops and only 300 unarmed National Guardsmen were on duty to meet the crowd of around 10,000.
A GoFundMe set up by another cop on behalf of Sicknick’s family had raised more than $ 410,400 by noon Sunday
Sicknick’s brother confirmed his death on Thursday, recounting ABC7: ‘After a day of fighting for his life, he passed away as a hero.
“I want to thank all of his law enforcement brothers and sisters for the incredible compassion and support they have shown my family.
“My family and I hope that our privacy can be respected as we cry. Thank you.’
Sicknick’s father, Charles Sicknick, 81, spoke of the tragedy on Saturday, telling Reuters he hoped his son’s death will end “all the madness in this country.”
“He loved his job,” Charles said. “I’ll never get over it.
The father said Sicknick was pepper sprayed and hit on the head as rioters overpowered Capitol Police.
Ambulance crews resuscitated him twice as he was rushed to a nearby Washington hospital. He died the next day.
“He ended up with a brain clot,” his father said. “If they had operated on him, he would have become a vegetable.
A GoFundMe set up by another cop on behalf of Sicknick’s family had raised more than $ 410,400 by noon Sunday.
“If good comes out of my son’s death, I just hope it ends all the madness in this country,” Charles told Reuters.