Justice Department declares Capitol Police officer's suicide after January 6 line of duty death

The officer is one of four who have died by suicide after responding to the riot.

Updated: November 23, 2022 - 9:31am

The Justice Department has reportedly designated the suicide death of Capitol Police Officer Howard "Howie" Liebengood three days after the Jan. 6 riot as having occurred in the line of duty.

The designation was announced by members of Liebengood's family who said they were informed Monday by the department.

The determination will give his family access to benefits under the Public Safety Officer Benefits Program, for which family members have been asking, according to the news website dcist.com.

"The determination is significant, healing, relieving, and we are grateful for it," Liebengood’s wife, Serena Liebengood, and siblings Anne Winters and John Liebengood said in a statement. "We take some solace in knowing that Howie has officially received this well-deserved honor."

Liebengood took his life the night of Jan. 9, 2021 – three days after the riot.

President Biden this past summer signed into law legislation passed by Congress expanding access to benefits for families of law enforcement officers who die by suicide after experiencing a traumatic event on the job. The law also expands access to benefits for law enforcement officers who suffer from on-the-job post traumatic stress disorder.

Liebengood is one of four officers who died by suicide after responding to the riot, dcist also reports. The three others were Metropolitan Police Department officers. One died days after the riot, and the two others died in the ensuing six months.