Washington – The widow of Howard Liebengood, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died by suicide three days after the January 6th attack on the Capitol, has sent a letter to her member of Congress, asking she help get her husband’s death designated as “in the line of duty” according to ABC News.
“After assisting riot control at the Capitol on January 6th, USCP scheduled Howie to work lengthy shifts in the immediate days following. He was home for very few hours over the course of four days,” Serena Liebengood wrote to Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., revealing details apparently not publicly known.
“Although he was severely sleep-deprived, he remained on duty — as he was directed — practically around the clock from January 6 through the 9. On the evening of the 9, he took his life at our home,” she wrote of her 51-year-old husband.
Liebengood called the “reluctance” by U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman to do so a “wrong which must be rectified,” asking that Congress intervene
Pittman responded in a statement Thursday, saying, “While I want to support the Liebengood family to the maximum extent possible, Line of Duty Death declarations are given to officers who die while carrying out official law enforcement responsibilities.”
She cited that even law enforcement officers who had killed themselves after responding to the 9/11 attacks were not classified as having died in the line of duty.
Liebengood noted she wanted her husband’s death to bring support to U.S. Capitol Police officers and reforms to the police force, especially when it comes to mental health and well-being.
Pittman, in her statement, responded the force had increased access to mental health for officers.
“With a full understanding of and immense appreciation for the toll our profession can have on officers, the Department has always made mental health resources available to our workforce and significantly increased those resources in size and scope after January 6th,” she said.