Capitol Riot Police Officer Responding Dies Off Duty
Since 2005, Officer Howard Liebengood has been with the Capitol Police, assigned to protect the Senate. They did not have the cause of his death.
Four days after the Capitol was stormed by a violent crowd, overrunning the police department, an officer assigned to protect the Senate died off duty during the siege, the Capitol Police reported Sunday.
The Capitol Police Union said Officer Howard Liebengood, a 15-year-old force veteran, "was one of the officers who responded to the U.S. riot." Capitol' on Wednesday, when the seat of the American government was targeted by insurrectionists incited by President Trump.
We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Officer Liebengood, and we mourn the death of a comrade and colleague who served with us to protect the lives of members of Congress, their employees, and all those serving in the United States. Capitol," the union's statement said.
Since 2005, Officer Liebengood, 51, has been a Capitol Police officer and was assigned to the Senate division of the department. His father, who shared his name, served from 1981 to 1983 as sergeant-at-arms, the Senate's chief security officer. In the wake of the riot, Officer Liebengood was the second Capitol Police officer to die.
The Capitol Police only reported in a statement on Sunday that the death of Officer Liebengood took place "off duty," but did not provide the cause or address further questions.
"His family also refused to comment, releasing a statement through their attorney, Barry J. Pollack: "Mr. The family members of Liebengood wish to grieve privately as they mourn Howard Liebengood's unexpected and tragic loss. He will be missed sorely.
"We are reeling from the death of Officer Liebengood," said the union's chairman, Gus Papathanasiou. "Officer Liebengood was an example of the selfless service that is the hallmark of the U.S.C.P. Each Capitol Police officer puts the safety of others before their own safety, and this is a tragic day."
Days after another cop, Brian D. Sicknick, died of injuries he suffered when he engaged with the mob that invaded the Capitol on Thursday, the news shook the police. At least four people in connection with the siege have died.
Lawmakers have called for hearings and transparency based on the most critical security breach in decades, arguably. The head of the Capitol Police was shot or retired, as were the sergeants-at-arms of both the House and the Senate.
"From the U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota, posted on Twitter on Sunday that the Capitol Police had just announced the tragic death of Officer Howard Liebengood, for whom I mourn. "Our officers deserve more than recognition. They need real, competent leadership and tangible assistance, and I encourage my colleagues to join me in asking for it right away.
In a statement that called Officer Liebengood "a patriot who dedicated his life to defending the Capitol and protecting everyone who serves, works and visits this temple of our democracy," Speaker Nancy Pelosi also offered condolences.
Ms. Pelosi said, "His passing is a great tragedy that compounds this past week's horror."
In December 2014, a picture of Officer Liebengood posing with a handful of cookies was posted on Twitter by Ian Koski, a former aide to Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware.
Mr. Koski wrote, "He was a real person and a good guy, and this is a terrible tragedy."