US Capitol Police officer who responded to Capitol riot dies while off-duty

A US Capitol Police car drives past on patrol in front of security fencing near the West Front of the Capitol, on January 9, 2021, in Washington, DC. By Diane Ruggiero, CNN

(CNN) -- A Capitol Police officer who was among those who responded to the storming of the Capitol last week, died while off duty, the Capitol Police said.

Officer Howard Liebengood, 51, was assigned to the Senate Division and has been with the Department since April 2005.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues," a statement from the U.S. Capitol Police communications director Eva Malecki said. "We ask that his family, and other USCP officers' and their families' privacy be respected during this profoundly difficult time."

The announcement did not state the officer's cause of death.

"We are reeling from the death of Officer Liebengood," said Police Union chairman Gus Papathanasiou. "Every Capitol Police Officer puts the security of others before their own safety and Officer Liebengood was an example of the selfless service that is the hallmark of the USCP. This is a tragic day."

Liebengood's father, Howard S. Liebengood, was an aide to former Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker and served as the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms from 1981-1983.

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