U.S. Capitol police officers scuffle with demonstrators after they breaches security fencing during a protest outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that an officer who died last month did so by suicide, just hours after announcing that another January 6 responder, Gunther Hashida, had done the same last week.
MPD officer Kyle DeFreytag, who had worked for the department for five years, was found dead at his residence on July 10, but the department confirmed Monday that his death was a suicide, according to WUSA. DeFreytag, like Hashida, had responded to the riot on January 6.
“I am writing to share tragic news that Officer Kyle DeFreytag of the 5th District was found deceased last evening,” MPD chief Robert J. Contee III wrote in a message to the department last month. “This is incredibly hard news for us all, and for those that knew him best.”
The disclosure marks the fourth suicide by a cop who responded to the Capitol riot since January 6, and comes hours after MPD announced the Hashida had killed himself on July 29. Hashida was 43 and had been a member of the department for 15 years.
MPD officer Jeffrey Smith and U.S. Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood both died by suicide in January. In addition, USCP officer Brian Sicknick, 42, collapsed the Capitol on the night of January 6 and later died; in April, D.C.’s chief medical examiner said he’d died of a stroke.
Sicknick was one of five people to die at the Capitol that day, including protester Ashlii Babbitt, who was shot and killed by police during the riot.
As of June, more than a dozen cops from both MPD and USCP remained unable to work as a result of injuries sustained on January 6. Several cops who responded to the riot testified before a special House committee last month to talk about their experiences during the violent attempt to overturn the election results, as well as their anger at Republicans who supported the effort and have since downplayed the riot.
Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who is Black, said he was repeatedly called a “n—–” and broke down sobbing as soon as the riot had been dispersed.
“More than six months later, January 6 still isn’t over for me,” Dunn told the House committee. “I know so many officers continue to hurt both physically and emotionally.”