Another officer confirmed dead as senators say it was ‘dumb luck’ more weren’t killed in Capitol riot

Gino Spocchia
·2-min read
<p>Police patrol the US Capitol weeks after riot</p> (EPA)

Police patrol the US Capitol weeks after riot

(EPA)

Senators and House members were allegedly lost for words after a security briefing on policing failures before and during the Capitol riot, with one saying it was “dumb luck” more didn’t die.

Two members who attended a House Appropriations Committee briefing on Tuesday told CNN that several lawmakers appeared to be stunned as US Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman spoke.

She admitted that pre-emptive action should have been taken in the lead-up to planned demonstrations on 6 January, and that her department knew there was a "strong potential for violence" from Donald Trump’s supporters, who were targeting the Capitol.

Matt Cartwright, a Pennsylvania Democrat, told CNN: "It was only by pure dumb luck that elected officials, staffers and more Capitol policemen were not killed."

Watch: A second police officer who responded to Capitol riots has died by suicide

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, added that members were "shaking their heads in disbelief" that police did not do more to prevent the attack.

Ms Pittman told the House committee that although her predecessor waited "for over an hour” for authorisation for the National Guard, “we did not do enough”. Steven Stund, the former chief of Capitol Police, was among a number of security officials who resigned following the riot.

Those comments come as Robert Contee III, the acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, told Congress that a second officer who responded to the attack had died by suicide.

Officer Jeffrey Smith, who died on 15 January, was thought to be the first confirmed death among Washington DC’s police department in relation to the attack.

Howard Liebengood, a Capitol Police officer, was also reported to have died by suicide, on 9 January. He was the second Capitol Police officer to have died after officer Brian Sicknick was among five people who lost their lives on the day.

Kay Granger, a Texas Republican, described the House committee briefing as a "critical first step" in in the investigation of policing failures of 6 January, and that “many questions remain”.

She said to CNN: “It is clear that the failure was not due to a lack of intelligence, but rather a failure to properly act on this intelligence."

Ms Granger added: “This is unacceptable and left our law enforcement men and women on the ground unprepared for the danger they would face. These heroes not only deserve our gratitude for successfully keeping Members and staff safe, they deserve answers and a commitment to do better."

Watch: How chaos at the Capitol exposed a double standard

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