October 27, 2021

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Days After Capitol Siege, Police Officer Who Protected Senate Dies Off Duty – The New York Times

2 min read

WASHINGTON — Four days after a violent mob stormed the Capitol, overrunning its police force, an officer who had been assigned to protect the Senate died off duty, the Capitol Police announced on Sunday.

It was not immediately clear whether the officer, Howard Liebengood, had played a role in defending the building on Wednesday, when insurrectionists incited by President Trump attacked the seat of American government. Nor was it known whether his death was connected to the siege, which claimed the life of another officer who was injured during clashes with the mob.

In a statement on Sunday, the Capitol Police described Officer Liebengood’s passing only as an “off-duty death.”

A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the cause of death or the officer’s status on Wednesday.

Officer Liebengood, 51, had been a Capitol Police officer since 2005, and was assigned to the agency’s Senate division. His father, who shared his name, served as the sergeant-at-arms, the chief security official, of the Senate from 1981 to 1983.

The news rocked the police force days after another officer, Brian D. Sicknick, died on Thursday of injuries he sustained when he engaged with the mob that attacked the Capitol. At least four other civilians have died in connection with the siege.

Lawmakers have demanded investigations and accountability based on arguably the most significant security failure in decades. The chief of the Capitol Police, as well as the sergeants-at-arms of both the House and the Senate, have been fired or resigned.

“The U.S. Capitol Police just announced the tragic death of Officer Howard Liebengood — for whom I mourn,” Representative Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota, wrote on Twitter. “Our officers need more than gratitude. They need authentic, capable leadership and meaningful support, and I call on my colleagues to join me demanding it immediately.”

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