- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2021

A longtime U.S. Capitol Police officer who responded to last week’s violent riot at the Capitol died Saturday apparently after taking his own life.

The officer, Howard Liebengood, was 51.

Capitol Police confirmed Officer Liebengood died while off-duty but did not reveal a cause of death. Law enforcement sources confirmed to The Washington Times that his death was an apparent suicide.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. “We ask that his family and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this profoundly difficult time.”

It’s the second life lost in four days for the Capitol Police in the aftermath of a violent riot that occurred when pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week. Officer Brian Sicknick died late Thursday from injuries sustained during the violent insurrection.

“Every Capitol Police Officer puts the security of others before their own safety and Officer Liebengood was an example of the selfless service that is the hallmark of USCP,” Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement. “This is a tragic day.”

Four civilians, including a former Air Force veteran who was shot by Capitol Police, also died during the attack.

Officer Liebengood, who joined the force in 2005, was assigned to the Senate division.

Although Officer Liebengood responded to the assault on the Capitol, it is not known if that played a role in his apparent suicide.

Social media videos and unsealed criminal charges detail some of the vicious assaults on police officers during the riot.

In addition to the death of Officer Sicknick, more than 50 police officers were injured in the attack, with some requiring hospitalization.

A Capitol Police officer told BuzzFeed that he was assaulted with a “Back the Blue” flag. The flag has been waved at pro-Trump rallies to show their support for law enforcement.

Disturbing footage from the riot shows savage protesters dragging a cop down a staircase before trampling him and pelting him with objects, according to Storyful.com, a news agency.

The cop is seen lying face down on the ground, while protesters toss a leg crutch and water bottles at him.

“USA! USA!” the rioters can be heard chanting while beating the cop.

The officer has not been identified.

Another disturbing video shows a Capitol Police officer with blood on his face and screaming for help while being crushed by the mob of pro-Trump supporters.

The officer cries out for help as blood drips from his mouth. He is pinned between a metal door and a riot shield used by a rioter who stole the protective equipment from the police.

Of the dozens who have been hit with federal charges arising from their alleged activities during the insurrection, only one has been publicly accused of attacking an officer.

Prosecutors in Washington say, Mark Leffingwell, 51, has been charged with assaulting an officer.

Capitol Police Officer Daniel Amendola said Mr. Leffingwell punched him “repeatedly with a closed fist.”

“I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest,” Officer Amendola said, according to court documents.

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