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WaPo: US Capitol police officer involved in riots dies by suicide

Howard Liebengood, 51, died days after the Capitol riots.

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Capitol police officer who responded to the pro-Trump riots has died by suicide, according to the Washington Post.

According to US Capitol police officials, the officer, 51-year-old Howard Liebengood, died on Saturday, Jan. 9. A spokesperson with the U.S. Capitol Police said Liebengood was assigned to the Senate Division and had been with the department since April 2005.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues. We ask that his family and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this profoundly difficult time," the department said in a release. 

According to CBS News, Liebengood's father, Howard Liebengood Sr, served as the Senate sergeant-at-arms from 1981 until 1983. 

Two law enforcement officials told The Washington Post that he had died by suicide, days after being on the scene of Wednesday’s riots.

The officials spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to release details that were not being made public.

"We are reeling from the death of Officer Liebengood. 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," United States Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement.

Elected officials across the Commonwealth of Virginia have expressed their sympathy and offered condolences to Liebengood's family.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) released a statement on social media offering condolences in regards to Liebengood's death.

"I'm saddened to learn about the death of USCP Officer Howard Liebengood. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. May he rest in peace. Thank you for your service," Warner said.

Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton also expressed her sympathy regarding the news of Liebengood's death -- stating that Liebengood was one of her constituents in the Commonwealth.

"I'm deeply saddened to learn about the death of USCP Officer Howard Liebengood. Officer Liebengood served with USCP for 15 years, continuing a family tradition of protecting the U.S. Senate," Wexton said, "He was my constituent. My heart breaks for his family, his loved ones, and our community."

News of Liebengood's death comes days after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, breaching all police barricades and forcefully entering the building.

The Capitol was placed on lockdown, police ordered evacuations, and the certification of Electoral College votes, which had just begun minutes before rioters broke in, was delayed.

Five other people have died. One rioter was shot and killed inside the U.S. Capitol, three other people died of medical emergencies and one U.S. Capitol police officer died after he was hurt during the riots.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741. 

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