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A Capitol Police Officer On Duty During The Coup Attempt Has Died By Suicide

Officer Howard Liebengood was 51 years old.

Posted on January 11, 2021, at 1:25 p.m. ET

A police officer presses a young girl's fingerprints into an ink pad
Tom Williams / Roll Call / Getty Images

Officer Howard Liebengood at a "Kid Safety Day" event in 2008

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 and later died at a hospital.

According to CBS News, several Capitol Police officers have threatened self-harm in the days following the riot.

The union representing the Capitol Police said the dead officers' service will not be forgotten.

"We are reeling from the death of Officer Liebengood," Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the Capitol Police Labor Committee, 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.

At his post in the Russell building, Howie was a familiar and cheerful presence, and also a friend to me and my staff, many of whom have known him for years. His bravery, kindness, and genuine care for others was deeply felt by all of us who had the privilege of knowing him.

Twitter: @MittRomney

"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.

This is Officer Liebengood — Howie — at a shift change in December 2014. Senators Coons and Blunt, and their staffs, would make and bring cookies over every year to mark the holidays and express our gratitude. He was a real person and a good guy, and this is a terrible tragedy.

Twitter: @iankoski

I'll remember Howard Liebengood as a truly friendly Capitol Police officer who always had a smile on his face and a kind word to share, even at 6:45 in the morning. Tragic. https://t.co/6z3FLaZFPr

Twitter: @nancycordes

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.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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