POLITICS

Family Of Officer Who Died By Suicide After Capitol Attack Supports Jan. 6 Commission

Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood's death "was a direct result of the trauma and strain from the January 6th attack on the Capitol," his family said.

Relatives of a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died by suicide following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection said they support a commission to investigate the day’s events.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood, a 15-year police veteran, was one of two officers who died by suicide days after the deadly attack on the Capitol that left several dead and 140 officers injured. Liebengood’s death “was a direct result of the trauma and strain from the January 6th attack on the Capitol and the around-the-clock shifts in the subsequent days,” his family said.

A Democrat-backed measure in the House to form a 9/11-style commission about the insurrection is set to be approved Wednesday, though Senate Republicans have suggested they will try to block efforts for a bipartisan investigation into the attack. 

A U.S. Capitol Police officer signs a memorial book for Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood on Jan. 12, 2021. Liebengood
A U.S. Capitol Police officer signs a memorial book for Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood on Jan. 12, 2021. Liebengood died by suicide days after defending in the Capitol from rioters.

Such an investigation is necessary for the nation “to move forward,” Liebengood’s family said on Wednesday.

“We believe a thorough, non-partisan investigation into the root causes of and the response to the January 6th riot is essential for our nation to move forward,” the family said in a statement. “Howie’s death was an immediate outgrowth of those events.”

Liebengood’s family is also asking for “improved mental health for USCP officers” as well as new funding and staffing initiatives. 

“Every officer who worked that day, as well as their families, should have a better understanding of what happened,” the statement added. “Uncovering the facts will help our nation heal and may lessen the lingering emotional bitterness that has divided our country. We implore Congress to work as one and establish the proposed Commission.”

Members of the U.S. Capitol Police issued their own statement Wednesday rebuking Republican leaders who have pushed back against opening an investigation.

“It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th,” the letter said. “Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of the USCP. It is a privileged assumption for Members to have the point of view that ‘it wasn’t that bad.’”