The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia announced Monday that two of their officers who responded to the Capitol riot on January 6 died by suicide in July. A department spokesperson identified one officer as Gunther Hashida, a member of the force’s emergency-response team within its special-ops division. Hashida, who joined the MDP in 2003, was found in his home on July 29. Hours later, the department also confirmed the death of Kyle DeFreytag, a four-year veteran assigned to the department’s fifth district, who was found on July 10.
Hashida’s and DeFreytag’s deaths are the third and fourth suicide among law-enforcement officers who responded to the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. On January 10, the United States Capitol Police announced that Howard Liebengood had died by suicide. A 16-year veteran of the Capitol Police, he had been assigned to the Senate division of the force. On January 15, a 12-year Metropolitan Police Department veteran, Jeffrey Smith, died by suicide. Another Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died after suffering two strokes in the aftermath of the riot.
“We are grieving as a department, and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” an MPD spokesperson told CNN.
As lawmakers investigate the events of January 6, much of the most powerful testimony has come from officers who responded to the violence, which injured over 150 members of law enforcement. Last week, on the first day of the House Select Committee investigation into the attack, Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell compared the hand-to-hand combat to a “medieval battle” and recalled thinking, “This is how I’m going to die.” Another officer, Michael Fanone, testified that he heard crowd members urging the mob to “kill him with his own gun.” And Harry Dunn, a 13-year Black veteran of the force, recalled rioters yelling racial slurs at him when he told them that he had voted for Joe Biden.
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: