Two police officers who defended the U.S Capitol during the January 6th riot have tragically committed suicide. Gunther Hashida and Kyle DeFreytag are the third and fourth police officers to die in relation to the riot.
Gunther Hashida, who was forty-three years old, died on July 29th, as per a statement from the Washington Metropolitan Police Department.
"Officer Gunther Hashida, assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division, was found deceased in his residence on Thursday, July 29th," spokesperson Brianna Burch told the Guardian. "We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida's family and friends."
Hashida was assigned to the emergency response team within the special operations department. He had been on the force for eighteen years.
The police officer is survived by his wife Romelia and 3 children. A GoFundMe was set up by Hashida's sister-in-law, Msunshine Benitez, which has currently raised $86,000 of their $250,000 goal.
"In his work as an officer with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, he worked to serve and protect the public. He was a devoted and loving husband and father." The GoFundMe description reads. The funds are to pay for a memorial service for the police officer, to support his children's education, and to provide lost income support for his widow.
Hashida's death marks the third police officer to die by suicide relating to the January 6 Capitol insurrection. The riots saw Trump supporters storming the Capitol building in a violent attempt to stop the certification of Biden's electoral win.
Last week, multiple police officers who helped defend the US Capitol testified and shared their experiences of what took place including violent acts, racial slurs, and traumatic instances. According to the testimonies, multiple police officers now live with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues as a result of the riots.
Hours after the death of Hashida was announced, the Metropolitan Police Department released another statement that a fourth police officer had also committed suicide. Officer Kyle DeFreytag was only twenty-six years old and had joined the force in 2016.
An online obituary read: "He liked hiking, camping, riding his motorcycle, he liked traveling and playing the drums, he enjoyed trying different ethnic foods and always knew the best places to eat. Kyle was kind, he had a quick wit and a great sense of humor & kept us laughing for 26 years."
In addition to his parents, he is survived by his brother Sam DeFreytag and Sister Melanie, and her husband Dale Hockenberry.
So far, 5 police officers have died who were on duty at the January 6th insurrection, including Brian Sicknick, who collapsed in his office on January 7th from a stroke. Two other officers who responded to the Capitol riot died by suicide within a month of the attack. Jeffrey Smith of the MPD and Howard Liebengood of the Capitol Police had been with their departments for more than a decade.
According to CNBC, about 140 officers from both the Capitol Police and the D.C. department were injured during the riots, with over 500 people being arrested for alleged crimes related to the invasion.
Rest in Peace to the officers who have lost their lives because of this horrifying event.