After the Capitol insurrection, a police officer committed suicide. Now, another officer has followed suit by taking his own life while on duty at the U.S. Capitol.
The first officer to take his own life, Howard Liebengood, made the drastic decision on January 6, a week after a mob invaded the Capitol.
The latest officer to commit suicide, Smith, did so on January 15. He was a patrol officer working at the city's second district.
According to Metro police chief Robert J. Contee III, the officer had been with the city's police department for 12 years.
Additionally, he was there when an unruly group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on the day Congress was supposed to confirm the electoral votes from the November election.
However, the manner in which the officer ended his life was not revealed.
Another officer, 42-year-old Brian Sicknick, died on January 7 after succumbing to injuries he got during the riots.
Suicides Caused By The Insurrection
Police chief Contee said that the department honored the service and the sacrifices of the three officers and offered condolences to the families. Contee said that the two officers took their own lives in the aftermath of the Capitol battle.
Even though it has been weeks since the riot, many police officers are still reeling from the insurrection effects. During the riots, five people lost their lives.
The death of two officers by suicide has worried several lawmakers from both parties. A lot of people want answers from those at the top.
Congress is also still dealing with the political impacts of the events that took place on January 6. The Senate is in the process of impeaching former President Donald Trump for the second time.
Still, lawmakers are trying to learn more about the security lapses that left Capitol Police and MPD officers greatly outnumbered and highly vulnerable to attacks from the violent rioters.
Law enforcement officials spoke about security lapses at the Capitol during a briefing with the House Appropriations Committee. At the time, the acting head of U.S. Capitol Police, Yogananda D. Pittman, said that the department had been outmanned and unprepared for the attack it faced.
Request For Additional Support Initially Denied
Apparently, the Capitol Police Board also denied a request for additional support from the National Guard on Jan. 4. The board would relent after the building was overrun by a pro-Trump mob, but an hour after a second appeal was made.
According to Contee, 65 members sustained documented injuries:
"Many more sustained injuries from the assault – scratches, bruises, eyes burning from bear mace – that they did not even bother to report."
Clearly, many of them also suffered from psychological trauma, which explains why two officers have now taken their own lives.
According to Contee:
"The cost of this insurrection – both human and monetary – will be steep."
Smith was 35, and his death demonstrates that the continued negative effects of Trump's false allegations of election fraud against Joe Biden are yet to die down.
On January 6, pro-Trump rioters managed to overwhelm the police after breaching all the police barricades and forcefully entering the Capitol building.
During the insurrection, a rioter was shot and killed by the USCP. Four others succumbed to injuries, including a U.S. Capitol police officer who died the day after the riots.