The United States Capitol Police confirmed on Sunday that Howard Liebengood — a USCP officer who responded to the attempted insurrection by a pro-Trump mob at the Capitol last Wednesday — died by suicide three days later.
A 15-year member of the law-enforcement agency that protects Congress, Liebengood, 51, was assigned to the Senate division of the police force. The Capitol Police union said Sunday that he “was among the officers who responded to the rioting at the U.S. Capitol” last week. Liebengood’s father served as the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the top officer responsible for the security of the Senate, from 1981 to 1983.
Liebengood was the second Capitol Police officer to die this week: On Thursday, Brian Sicknick, 42, passed away from injuries he sustained during the attack. Sicknick is one of five people whose deaths have been linked to the assault on the Capitol following a Trump rally that put the events in motion.
In the wake of the chaos, lawmakers have called for an investigation into the Capitol Police to determine why so few officers were on duty on Wednesday. Despite reported warnings from the FBI and NYPD of potential violence, there were no additional officers stationed at the Capitol, and those on the scene did not have riot equipment. Already, the Sergeants at Arms of both the House and Senate and the head of the U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, have submitted their resignations.
Several lawmakers offered condolences following the news of Liebengood’s death, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senator Tim Kaine, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Officer Liebengood was a patriot who dedicated his life to defending the Capitol and protecting all who serve, work in, and visit this temple of our Democracy,” Pelosi said. “His passing is a great tragedy that compounds the horror of this past week.”
On Sunday, the White House lowered the American flag to half-staff to honor the two officers. The Capitol had already lowered its flag to honor Sicknick.
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, contact the following people who want to help:
Crisis Text Line: Text CRISIS to 741741 for free, confidential crisis counseling
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386