September 20, 2021

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Third officer who responded to U.S. Capitol insurrection dies by suicide – USA TODAY

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WASHINGTON – A District of Columbia police officer who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has died by suicide, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, the third officer to do so. 

MPD spokesperson Kristen Metzger told CNN Monday that Officer Gunther Hashida, an 18-year veteran on the force, was found dead at his residence Thursday.

“We are grieving as a Department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” Metzger said.

Hashida was assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division and was dispatched to the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the statement. He joined the MPD in 2003.

Hashida’s death is the third known suicide of a police officer who fought back against a violent mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump. Officer Howie Liebengood, a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, and  Officer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the MPD, died by suicide days later.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered condolences to Hashida’s family Monday.

“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 said in a statement.

“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.

Researchers say police officers and firefighters are at a higher risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide than any other profession, yet many do not seek treatment. So far, 18 police officers have died by suicide in 2021; 176 died last year.

Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.

Reach Chelsey Cox on Twitter @therealco.

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