Third police officer who responded to Jan. 6 attack dies by suicide
A third police officer who responded to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has died by suicide, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) confirmed Monday.
Gunther Hashida was found dead in his home Thursday, according to an emailed statement from the department.
A spokesperson for the MPD confirmed to The Hill that Hashida died by suicide.
“We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” the department wrote in the statement.
Hashida was assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division, according to the department.
Hashida died two days after the select committee probing the Jan. 6 attack held its first hearing, where four police officers delivered harrowing testimony about their experiences defending the Capitol amid the riots.
The officers testified about the trauma they were left with following the riots.
“For most people, Jan. 6 happened for a few hours, but for those of us who were in the thick of it, it has not ended. That day continues to be a constant trauma for us literally every day, whether because our physical or emotional injuries or both,” Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said.
Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn said he is receiving private counseling therapy for the “persistent emotional trauma” he faces from that day.
D.C. Police officer Michael Fanone told the committee that he was “left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived such a horrific event, and my children continue to deal with the trauma of nearly losing their dad that day.”
In a statement on Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Hashida a hero.
“On behalf of the House of Representatives, I send deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Metropolitan Police Department Officer Gunther Hashida. Officer Hashida was a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy. All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service,” Pelosi wrote.
“May Officer Hashida’s life be an inspiration to all to protect our Country and Democracy. And may it be a comfort to Officer Hashida’s family that so many mourn their loss and pray for them at this sad time,” she added.
Hashida is the third police officer who served at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to die by suicide.
U.S. Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood and MPD officer Jeffrey Smith both died of suicide in the days following the January incident.
Dunn, during the House select committee hearing last week, directly discussed the emotional toll the Jan. 6 attack has had on officers, urging his colleagues to seek professional help if needed.
“I know so many other officers continue to hurt, both physically and emotionally. I want to take this moment to speak to my fellow officers about the emotions they are continuing to experience from the events of Jan. 6. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling. What we went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us,” Dunn said.
He also asked the panel to look into the resources available for the officers and determine if they are “sufficient enough to meet our needs.”
“I also respectfully ask that this select committee review the available resources, the services available to us, and consider whether they are sufficient enough to meet our needs, especially with respect to the amount of leave that we are allowed,” he said.