Story at a glance

  • Five people were killed and more than 65 others injured after the insurrection on the United States Capitol by former President Trump’s supporters.
  • Two officers who were at the Capitol have since died by suicide.
  • The acting chief of D.C.’s police department said many officers are suffering from trauma related to the attack.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can reach a counselor 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or by chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

A second police officer who was at the Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6 has died of suicide, according to the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). 

Jeffery Smith, a 12-year veteran of the department, died Monday at the age of 35.

Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood had died Jan. 9 by suicide at the age of 51.

Five other people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the mob attack on the Capitol.

“Other harm from this traumatic day will be widely felt but possibly unacknowledged. Law enforcement training neither anticipates nor prepares for hours of hand-to-hand combat. Even brief physical fights are physically and emotionally draining. MPD is working to support the emotional well-being of our officers who experienced this,” Robert Contee, MPD’s acting chief of police, said in testimony to the House on the security failures that day. 


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Sixty-five D.C. police officers filed reports on their injuries, while others who suffered scratches, bruises and even eyes burning from bear mace "did not even bother to report" those injuries, Contee said. 

Research shows mental health issues are less likely to be reported by law enforcement officers, despite their high-stress occupation. More officers, who are already at higher risk of suicide than the general population, died by suicide than were killed in the line of duty in 2018 and 2019, according to a report by the Police Executive Research Forum.

Last year, the nonprofit Blue H.E.L.P. reported that at least 176 police officers died by suicide and another 12 have died so far this year. 

“The officers who were deployed elsewhere on the 6th share in the trauma of their colleagues, many frustrated that they could not rush in to stand on the line with them. And like everyone in the Capitol that day, we all have families and friends who watched the violence unfolding and worried about the safety of their loved ones,” said Contee.


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Published on Jan 27, 2021