Supporters of Donald Trump gather outside the Capitol building in Washington D.C., on January 06, 2021.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A Washington, D.C., police officer has died by suicide, making him the third cop to kill himself after defending the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters.
The officer, 43-year-old Gunther Hashida, was found dead at his home last Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for Washington police, who confirmed Hashida’s manner of death.
“We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” said the spokeswoman, Brianna Burch.
Hashida at the time of his death was assigned to the emergency response team within the Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department. He joined the MPD in May 2003.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a statement, said, “On behalf of the House of Representatives, I send deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Metropolitan Police Department Officer Gunther Hashida.”
“Officer Hashida was a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service.”
“May Officer Hashida’s life be an inspiration to all to protect our Country and Democracy. And may it be a comfort to Officer Hashida’s family that so many mourn their loss and pray for them at this sad time.”
Hashida is the fourth police officer to die in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.
Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who collapsed in his office after responding to the riot, died on 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.
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.
A crowdfunding page set up Sunday to pay for a memorial service for Hashida as of Monday afternoon had raised nearly $14,000 from more than 130 donors. The GoFundMe page, which has a $50,000 donation target, said Hashida “leaves behind a loving wife, sister, 3 children, and a wonderful family.”
“In his work as an officer with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, he worked to serve and protect the public,” the page said. “He was a devoted and loving husband and father. This fund will help support his memorial service and his family in the loss of his love and guidance.”
The Jan. 6 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.
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.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.