Capitol Police officer dies in blizzard
© U.S. Capitol Police Department

A U.S. Capitol Police officer died shoveling snow during the blizzard that dumped two feet of snow on Washington, D.C., and surrounding area this weekend, the agency said on Sunday.


The officer, Vernon Alston, had a heart attack while he was shoveling snow at his Delaware home, according to the Capitol Police.

Alston, who was 44, was a 20-year veteran of the Capitol Police force who worked in the agency's House division.

Capitol Chief of Police Kim Dine said that Alston will be missed by the police force, which is charged with protecting the U.S. Capitol.

“The death of Officer Alston is truly a tragic loss for the Alston family and the United States Capitol Police, which in fact is one in the same,” Dine said in a statement. “Officer Alston was someone who loved his job, and his loss leaves a huge void in the hearts of all of the men and women at the USCP.”

Congressional leaders expressed condolences as well on Sunday.

"I'm saddened to learn that the U.S. Capitol Police ‎has lost one of our own over the weekend as a result of the storm," Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada congressman admits to affair after relationship divulged on podcast Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Bottom line MORE (D-Nev.) said in a statement.

"For twenty years Officer Vernon Alston ‎was a fixture on the Capitol grounds while keeping the community safe," Reid continued. "I am always grateful for the dedication and sacrifice of the Capitol Police force and Officer Alston was an exemplar of that. My thoughts are with Officer Alston's family during this difficult time."