Two more police officers die by suicide after defending Capitol during riot by pro-Trump mob, tally now 4

Key Points
  • Two more Washington, D.C., police officers, Gunther Hashida and Kyle deFreytag, died by suicide in the months after defending the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters
  • Jeffrey Smith of the D.C. Police and Howard Liebengood of the Capitol Police, previously died by suicide within a month of the attack.
  • The riot began after then-President Donald Trump urged supporters to march to oppose a joint session of Congress confirming the election of President Joe Biden. 
Supporters of Donald Trump gather outside the Capitol building in Washington D.C., on January 06, 2021.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Two more Washington, D.C., police officers died by suicide in the months after defending the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters, bringing the grim tally of such deaths to four.

One of those cops, 43-year-old Gunther Hashida, was found dead at his home last Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan (D.C.) Police Department.

Hashida, joined the MPD in May 2003, and most recently was assigned to the emergency response team within the Special Operations Division.

Hours later, the MPD confirmed that another officer from the same department, Kyle deFreytag, died by suicide, and was found July 10.

DeFreytag, 26, had been with the department since November 2016.

A crowdfunding page set up Sunday to pay for a memorial service for Hashida, and to support his family, as of Monday night had raised more than $68,000 from more than 1,500 donors.

The GoFundMe page, which has a $250,000 donation target, said Hashida "leaves behind a loving wife, sister, 3 children, and a wonderful family."

An online obituary for deFreytag said he "liked hiking, camping, riding his motorcycle, he liked traveling and playing the drums, he enjoyed trying different ethnic foods and always knew the best places to eat."

"Kyle was kind, he had a quick wit and a great sense of humor & kept us laughing for 26 years," the obituary said.

The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful: Officer testimony today

So far, five police officers have died in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who collapsed in his office after responding to the riot, died Jan. 7 from two strokes. Washington's chief medical examiner has said that "all that transpired" during the riot played a role in Sicknick's condition.

Two other officers who responded to the Capitol riot died by suicide within a month of the attack. 

Those officers, Jeffrey Smith of the MPD and Howard Liebengood of the Capitol Police, both had been with their departments for more than a decade.

The riot began after then-President Donald Trump urged attendees at a rally outside the White House to march to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was meeting to officially confirm the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden as the next president.

Hundreds of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol grounds and buildings, disturbing the proceedings.

More than 500 people have been arrested for alleged crimes related to the invasion.

About 140 officers from both the Capitol Police and the D.C. department were injured in the melee.

 At a congressional hearing last week, four officers described being attacked, berated and threatened with death by throngs of people, many of whom were wielding weapons.

"I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm, as I heard chants of, 'Kill him with his own gun,'" MPD Officer Michael Fanone testified.

Another cop, Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, vented frustration at the hearing at some members of Congress who have downplayed the danger from the riot.

"The same people who we helped, the same people who we gave them the borrowed time to get to safety, now they are attacking us, they are attacking our characters," Gonell said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, issued statements of condolence for the deaths of Hashida and deFreytag.

"The loss of fallen officers who defended our democracy that day is devastating, and each life lost is a tragedy that America mourns, deeply," said Pelosi, who used the words "hero" and "patriot" to describe the cops.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.