According to the acting Metropolitan Police Department chief, a second police officer who responded to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has died by suicide, The Hill reported Wednesday.
Acting MPD Chief Robert Contee identified the officer as [Jeffery] Smith, who he said was injured while trying to help contain the mob of former President Trump‘s supporters attempting to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s electoral victory.
“That was a very sad and tragic situation for us,” Contee said during a press conference on Wednesday. “He had been injured as a result of the confrontation that had occurred at the Capitol and a couple of days after that, the officer, he took his life.”
Contee said that Smith was apparently on his way to work on the George Washington Parkway when he took his own life. The U.S. Park Police is handling the investigation of Smith’s death since it occurred in its jurisdiction.
The Washington Post reported that Smith was a 12-year veteran of the department and died on Jan. 15, nine days after the Capitol attack.
Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood also died by suicide after responding to the Capitol attack, The Hill reported, and Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick “died at a hospital one day after the riot after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.”
Contee testified before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that at least 65 MPD officers filed reports after sustaining injuries during the attack, noting that “many more” suffered less serious injuries but did not submit reports.
The chairman of the Capitol Police officers’ union, Gus Papathanasiou, said Wednesday that about 140 officers total between the U.S. Capitol Police and MPD were injured. He noted that a number of Capitol Police officers were severely injured.
“I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake,” Papathanasiou said.
The admissions came after the acting Capitol Police chief, Yogananda Pittman, testified before the House Appropriations Committee and apologized for the department’s failure to adequately prepare for the attack despite knowing days in advance that armed militia groups and white supremacists posed a threat. Pittman assumed her current role after the former Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, resigned following the Jan. 6 riot.
The Hill reported that Pittman also “acknowledged in her testimony that many Capitol Police officers are suffering from trauma after working on the front lines against the violent mob and from the loss of their colleagues.”
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