WASHINGTON D.C — The number of officers who have died by suicide in wake of their response to the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol doubled late Monday, with the Metropolitan Police Department in the District of Columbia confirming the death of a third and fourth officer.
Officer Kyle DeFreytag, a 26-year-old Pennsylvania native, was found dead on July 10. He served in the city’s 5th District and was tasked with enforcing a curfew implemented the night of Jan. 6, after a mob made up of pro-Trump protesters breached the U.S. Capitol in a bid to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral win.
“I am writing to share tragic news that Officer Kyle DeFreytag of the 5th District was found deceased last evening,” Chief Robert Contee III wrote in a mid-July message obtained by WUSA. “This is incredibly hard news for us all, and for those that knew him best.”
Confirmation of DeFreytag’s death on Monday came just hours after MPD revealed Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead at his home Thursday.
“We are grieving as a department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” department spokesperson Hugh Carew said in a statement to the Daily News.
Hashida, a veteran of the force since 2003, was assigned to the police Emergency Response Team the day of the Jan. 6 riot.
“Officer Hashida was a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service.”
Their deaths marked the third and fourth suicides among officers who responded to the U.S. Capitol insurrection. Howard Liebengood, who joined the U.S. Capitol Police in 2005, died by suicide three days after the attack and Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the force, took his life “in the aftermath of that battle,” Contee said during a closed-door meeting with congressional leaders in January.
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick also died from a stroke a day after he was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher and pelted with pepper spray amid his response to the chaos. Hundreds of people have since been charged in connection with the capitol riots, including two men charged with assaulting Sicknick.