Officer Who Defended Capitol During Riots Dies of Apparent Suicide
A Capitol Police officer who responded to the deadly riots in Washington last week died by an apparent suicide on Saturday, according to multiple news reports, as the department struggles to fully recover from the devastating and destructive siege carried out by pro-Trump extremists.
Howard B. Liebengood, 51, worked in the Senate Division and had been assigned with the force since April 2005. He is the son of the late Sergeant of Arms Howard S. Liebengood, who died in 2005.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues,” the U.S. Capitol Police wrote in a statement issued on Sunday. “We ask that his family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this profoundly difficult time.”
A Fox 5 DC reporter circulated a message from Gus Papathanasiou, the chair of the Capitol Police Labor Committee, honoring Liebengood on Sunday afternoon. “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 the USCP,” Papathanasiou wrote. “This is a tragic day.”
Papathanasiou sent The Daily Beast the same press release, but did not respond to a specific question regarding suicide as the cause of death. The release notes that Liebengood was “among the officers who responded to the rioting at the U.S. Capitol.”
“We extend our deepest sympathies to Officer Liebengood’s family and we mourn the death of a friend and colleague who worked alongside us to protect the lives of the Members of Congress, their staff and all who serve at the U.S. Capitol,” the full release read.