A US Capitol Police officer has reportedly died by suicide three days after the force was thrown into chaos when Donald Trump‘s supporters stormed Congress.
Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, died while off-duty on Saturday, the USCP announced in a statement.
Two sources told the Associated Press that Liebengood took his own life. The USCP did not disclose a cause of death.
The other officer, Brian Sicknick, died on Thursday after reportedly having been hit over the head by a fire extinguisher during the riots.
Liebengood had been with the UCSP since April 2005 and was assigned to the Senate Division.
‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues,’ the agency said in its statement. ‘We ask that his family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this profoundly difficult time.’
Liebengood was the son of former top Senate aide Howard S Liebengood, who served as a Sergeant of Arms at the Capitol from 1981 to 1983 and died of a heart attack aged 62 in 2005.
The USCP made no suggestion that the younger Liebengood’s death had anything to do with last week’s riots at the Capitol, which claimed the life of his colleague, Sicknick.
Federal prosecutors launched a murder investigation into 42-year-old Sicknick’s death amid claims that he was ‘hit over the head with a fire extinguisher’ during the riots.
Sicknick was the fifth person to have died as a result of Wednesday’s insurrection but he was the only cop – the other four were all Trump fanatics.
His social media pages indicate that he, like the mob, supported Trump.
It is unclear where he was when he was allegedly attacked or whether or not he was alone and outnumbered, as many of his colleagues were.
Police say he was injured while ‘engaging’ with the mob.
He then returned to his division office, where he collapsed, and was taken to the hospital where he was put on life support briefly.
On Thursday night, hundreds of Sicknick’s colleagues lined the streets of DC to honor him as his body was transported to the morgue.
His family have since revealed that he wanted to be a cop his entire life.
‘Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember,’ his brother Ken told
They stood in salute and flashed the sirens while he was driven past.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags on Capitol Hill to be lowered to half staff in honor of the fallen officer.
The USCP has faced fierce criticism over its perceived failure to stop the riots.
Chief Steven Sund stepped down under pressure on Thursday amid claims the force was deliberately under-supported to avoid inflaming tensions with what might have been perceived as bad optics.
Anonymous sources told The Wall St Journal on Thursday that defense and police officials did not want to line the streets with armed National Guardsmen, as they did in the summer during the height of the BLM movement, because it would have raised the already bubbling tension in the Capitol.
Instead, fewer than 2,000 Capitol cops and only 300 unarmed National Guard were on duty to meet the mob of some 10,000.
Sicknick’s brother confirmed his death on Thursday, telling ABC7: ‘After a day of fighting for his life, he passed away a hero.
‘I would like to thank all of his brothers and sisters in law enforcement for the incredible compassion and support they have shown my family.
‘My family and I hope that our privacy can be respected as we grieve. Thank you.’
Sicknick’s father, Charles Sicknick, 81, spoke out about the tragedy on Saturday, telling Reuters that he hopes his son’s death will bring an end to ‘all the lunacy that’s been going on in this country’.
‘He loved his job,’ said Charles said. ‘I’ll never get over this.’
The father said Sicknick was pepper-sprayed and hit in 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 clot on the brain,’ his father said. ‘If they had operated on him, he would’ve become a vegetable.’
‘If any good comes out of my son’s death, I just hope that it stops all the lunacy that’s been going on in this country,’ Charles told Reuters.