Another veteran District of Columbia police officer who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has died by suicide. Gunther Hashida, an 18-year veteran on the force, was found dead at his residence Thursday and became the fourth law enforcement officer known to have died by suicide since responding to the riot. “We are grieving as a Department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Kristen Metzger said.* Hashida had been assigned to the Emergency Response Team that was part of the Special Operations Division sent to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Hashida’s was the second death by suicide of a D.C. police officer last month. On July 10, Metropolitan Police Officer Kyle DeFreytag was found dead. DeFreytag had been a more recent addition to the force, as he joined the Metropolitan Police Department in November 2016. DeFreytag’s death was only confirmed after news that Hashida had been found dead in his home.
Three days after the riot, a Capitol Police officer, Howard Liebengood, died of suicide. Liebengood had been part of the U.S. Capitol Police for 17 years. A few days later, on Jan. 15, Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the force, fatally shot himself. A bipartisan Senate report on the insurrection listed the two officers among seven people who “ultimately lost their lives” because of the insurrection. Also included on that list was Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from strokes a day after the riot, where he was sprayed with chemicals.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed her condolences over Hashida’s death on Monday. “Officer Hashida was a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy. All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service,” Pelosi said in a statement.
During a hearing of the House select committee that is investigating Jan. 6, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn spoke of how the insurrection continued to live on in the minds of many officers who were there that day. “More than six months later, Jan. 6 still isn’t over for me,” Dunn said. “I know so many other officers continue to hurt, both physically and emotionally.” Dunn said he sought counseling and encouraged others to do the same. “I want to take this moment and speak to my fellow officers about the emotions they are continuing to experience from the events of Jan. 6. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” Dunn said. “What we all went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”
Correction, Aug. 3, 2021: This post originally misspelled Kristen Metzger’s last name.