Washington

U.S. Capitol Police officer becomes seventh to die in the line of duty


The U.S. Capitol Police officer who was killed Friday after a car rammed into a security barricade at the Capitol complex is the seventh member of the department to die in the line of duty.

Officials have not identified the officer, who is the second to die on the job in the last three months.

Line-of-duty deaths remain relatively rare for the Capitol Police since its inception nearly two centuries ago.

The officer who died Friday follows the death of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died one day after responding to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

A cause of death has not been released, but investigators are looking into whether inhaling bear spray played a role in Sicknick’s death.

Prosecutors have charged two men with assaulting him during the riot, but they have not been accused of killing him.

The first Capitol Police officer considered killed in the line of duty actually didn’t die until four years after he was shot on the job.

Private Fred Crenshaw was involved in the arrest of several men suspected of a spate of robberies on the Capitol grounds in June 1948. He was walking one of the suspects to the police guardhouse in the Senate Office Building when the man pulled a pistol and shot Crenshaw twice.

One of the bullets lodged near Crenshaw’s spine and he never recovered. He died from complications from the gunshot wound in January 1952.

Crenshaw had been an officer for two years when he was shot.

The next line of duty death occurred almost 40 years later. Sgt. Christopher Eney, who was shot in the back by a fellow officer during a training exercise in August 1984. He had spent 12 years as a Capitol Police Officer.

Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson were both shot and killed by a mentally deranged gunman in 1998.

Russell E. Weston Jr. walked into a public entrance of the Capitol and opened fire killing Chestnut who was giving tourists directions at the time. When Weston entered Rep. Tom Delay’s office, he exchanged fire with Gibson, killing him.

Mr. Weston was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and remains in a mental institution.

In 2014, Sergeant Clinton Holtz died of a heart attack after commanding control of a sexual assault crime scene. He had served 11 years on the Capitol Police force.

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