Capitol Police officer dies days after shocking riots, suicide suspected

Howard Liebengood was a 15-year veteran who was in the thick of last Wednesday’s turmoil.

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Pro-Trump protesters attempting to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington
Pro-Trump protesters attempting to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021
(John Minchillo/AP)

The deadly fallout from last week’s shocking riots in the Capitol continued at the weekend after it emerged a longtime member of the Capitol Police has died.

Howard Liebengood, a 15-year veteran of the service, passed just days after being involved in the response to Wednesday’s deadly riot in the halls of Congress.

Liebengood, who is said to have died on Saturday, was 51 years old. His death was announced in a statement from the Capitol Police on Sunday. Numerous media reported that law enforcement suspect his death was a suicide.

Four other people, including an unarmed Trump supporter, died after Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol during a congressional hearing certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.

“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 USCP,” Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement. “This is a tragic day.”

Liebengood joined the force in 2005 and was assigned to the Senate division.

He is the son of former Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Howard S. Liebengood.

Liebengood’s death adds to the turmoil among law enforcement at the Capitol following Wednesday’s riot.

The department is still mourning Officer Brian Sicknick, who was pepper-sprayed and fatally bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.

The department itself is under intense scrutiny for the ease with which the mob overwhelmed Capitol Police and forced their way into the seat of American democracy.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned on Friday, earlier than expected, following criticism of his handling of the crowds that stormed the Capitol.

Paul Irving and Michael Stenger, the respective House and Senate sergeant-at-arms, are stepping down as well.

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