A second police officer who responded to the attack on the Capitol by a violent mob on Jan. 6 has died by suicide, marking the third law enforcement death in the aftermath of the pro-Trump riot.
Acting Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) chief, Robert Contee identified the officer as Jeffrey Smith, who he said was injured while trying to help contain the mob of former President Trump’s supporters attempting to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s electoral victory.
“That was a very sad and tragic situation for us,” Contee said during a press conference on Wednesday, January 27. “He had been injured as a result of the confrontation that had occurred at the Capitol and a couple of days after that, the officer, he took his life.”
Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, was assigned to patrol the 2nd District, which includes the neighborhoods of Chevy Chase and Georgetown.
According to Contee, Smith was on his way to work on the George Washington Parkway when he took his own life.
“Obviously again, our condolences go to the Smith family, his entire family, for such a tragic loss,” Contee said.
Two other police officers have also died in the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol. Howard Liebengood, a Capitol Police officer, also died by suicide after being on duty at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Another Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died at a hospital one day after the riot after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Speaking before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, Contee said at least 65 MPD officers filed reports after they were injured while responding to the attack.
He noted that “many more” officers were injured with scratches, bruises or eyes burning from bear spray but did not submit reports to document their injuries.
The chairman of the Capitol Police officers’ union, Gus Papathanasiou, said Wednesday that about 140 officers total between the U.S. Capitol Police and MPD were injured. He also said that a number of Capitol Police officers were severely injured.
“I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake,” Papathanasiou said.