Police officer suicides rise to four deaths
Donald Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol in Washington DC on January 6, 2021.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Two other Washington, DC police officers died by suicide by Trump supporters in the months after defending the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 insurrection, bringing the dismal number of such deaths to four.
One of these police officers, 43-year-old Gunther Hashida, was found dead in his home last Thursday, according to a Metropolitan spokeswoman [D.C.] Police station.
Hashida, joined the MPD in May 2003 and was most recently assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division.
Hours later, the MPD confirmed that another officer from the same department, Kyle deFreytag, died of suicide and was found on July 10.
DeFreytag, 26, had been in the department since November 2016.
A crowdfunding page set up on Sunday to pay for a memorial service for Hashida and support his family had raised more than $ 68,000 from more than 1,500 donors by Monday evening.
The GoFundMe page, which has a US $ 250,000 goal, states that Hashida “leaves behind a loving wife, sister, 3 children and a wonderful family.”
An online obituary for deFreytag states that he “enjoys hiking, camping, motorcycling, traveling and playing the drums, he likes to try different ethnic dishes and always knew the best restaurants”.
“Kyle was nice, he had a quick mind and a great sense of humor, and he made us laugh for 26 years,” the obituary reads.
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The uprising began after then-President Donald Trump urged participants in a rally outside the White House to march to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was held to officially confirm the election of Joe Biden’s electoral college victory as the next president.
Hundreds of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol grounds and buildings and disrupted the process.
More than 500 people were arrested for alleged crimes related to the invasion.
About 140 officers from the Capitol Police and the DC Department were injured in the hand-to-hand combat.
At a congressional hearing last week, four officials said they had been attacked, verbally abused and threatened with death by crowds of people, many of whom were carrying guns.
“I was in danger of being undressed and killed with my own gun when I heard chants: ‘Kill him with his own gun,'” said MPD official Michael Fanone.
Another police officer, Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, vented his frustration at hearing some congressmen who had downplayed the threat of insurrection.
“The same people we helped, the same people we gave borrowed time to get to safety, now they’re attacking us, they’re attacking our characters,” Gonell said.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released after the news of Hashida’s death but before DeFreytag’s suicide became public: “On behalf of the House of Representatives, I am sending the family and relatives of Metropolitan Police officer Gunther Hashida , my sincerest condolences .”
“Officer Hashida was a hero who risked his life to save our Capitol, the congressional community and our democracy,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “All Americans are indebted to him for his great bravery and patriotism on January 6th and during his selfless service.”
“May the life of Officer Hashida be an inspiration to everyone to protect our country and our 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.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.