WASHINGTON – Two District of Columbia police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol have died by suicide this month, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, bringing the total number of officers who have taken their lives after the riot to four.
MPD spokesperson Kristen Metzger told CNN Monday that Officer Gunther Hashida, an 18-year veteran on the force, was found dead at his residence Thursday.
"We are grieving as a Department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida's family and friends," Metzger said.
Hashida was assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division and was dispatched to the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the statement. He joined the MPD in 2003.
Only hours later, the MPD confirmed another suicide had taken place in mid-July.
"Officer Kyle DeFreytag, assigned to the Fifth District, was found deceased on Saturday, July 10th, 2021. He had been with the Department since November 2016," MPD spokesperson Makhetha Watson told USA TODAY.
The department confirmed DeFreytag, 26, had responded to the riots at the U.S. Capitol and that the cause of his death was suicide.
The deaths are the third and fourth known suicides of police officers who fought back against a violent mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump. Officer Howie Liebengood, a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, and Officer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the MPD, died by suicide days later.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered condolences to Hashida's family Monday.
“Officer Hashida was a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy. All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service," Pelosi said in a statement.
"May Officer Hashida’s life be an inspiration to all to protect our Country and Democracy."
And on Tuesday, Pelosi issued a statement on DeFreytag:
“The Congressional community and Country are heartbroken by the death of Metropolitan Police Department Kyle DeFreytag, a patriot who protected the Capitol on January 6th.
“The loss of fallen officers who defended our democracy that day is devastating, and each life lost is a tragedy that America mourns, deeply. As we grieve Officer DeFreytag’s passing, the Congress conveys our gratitude to every law enforcement hero who, like Officer DeFreytag, sacrificed to keep the Capitol and all within safe and who continue to serve our nation during this difficult time."
Researchers say police officers and firefighters are at a higher risk for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide than any other profession, yet many do not seek treatment. So far, 18 police officers have died by suicide in 2021; 176 died last year.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.
Reach Chelsey Cox on Twitter @therealco.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Two DC officers who responded to Jan. 6 Capitol riot die by suicide