Gunther Hashida became the fourth police officer who responded to the U.S. Capitol riots to die by suicide. Hashida, a Metropolitan Police Officer, died nearly eight months after the attack at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, his family announced.
Hashida died Thursday, July 29, 2021. He had a wife and three children. Gunther Paul Hashida was 43 and would have turned 44 just a few days after his death, according to his obituary. He was a member of the Emergency Response Team within the department’s Special Operations Division.
“On July 29, 2021, we lost Gunther Hashida, who leaves behind a loving wife, sister, 3 children, and a wonderful family,” a GoFundMe page said. “In his work as an officer with the DC Metropolitan Police Department, he worked to serve and protect the public. He was a devoted and loving husband and father. This fund will help support his memorial service and his family in the loss of his love and guidance.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hashida Had a Wife of 17 Years, Romelia, & 3 Children
Hashida had been married for 17 years to his wife, Romelia Hashida, a friend of the wife posted on Facebook. They had three children – two sons and a daughter. Their oldest was Victoria, followed by Gunther Jr., and their youngest child, Josh, the post said.
The friend described Hashida as “a dedicated, loving husband, a great father, and a close friend to so many.” The friend said she was a former coworker of Romelia Hashida, and described her as “the sweetest person ever.” Gunther Hashida was a family man, she continued.
“He worked hard for his family and wanted nothing but the best for his wife and kids,” she wrote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Hashida was a hero he risked his life in service to democracy.
“Officer Hashida was a hero, who risked his life to save our Capitol, the Congressional community and our very Democracy,” her statement said. “All Americans are indebted to him for his great valor and patriotism on January 6th and throughout his selfless service.”
More than 140 officers were injured while defending the U.S. Capitol and members of Congress January 6, 2021, including at least 65 Metropolitan Police officers, according to WUSA 9. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died the day after the insurrection attempt following multiple strokes, CNN reported, after he was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
2. Hashida’s Wife Shared a Photo of Them Together & Quoted a Poem Following His Death
Romelia Hashida, Gunther Hashida’s wife and mother of his three children, shared a photo Sunday, August 1, 2021, after her husband’s death. The photo shows Gunther with his arm around his wife, and Romelia leaning into him and smiling widely.
She captioned the photo with a poem, “I Only Wanted You” by Hayley Foster.
“A thousand words couldn’t bring you back… I know this because I tried, neither could a thousand tears… I know this because I cried, you left behind a broken heart and happy memories too… but I never wanted memories… I only wanted you,” she wrote.
Her Facebook page said she is a licensed practical nurse who works in oncology.
“just want you to know that you and the family are in our prayers. we will miss Gunther dearly,” one person wrote in the comments.
3. Hashida Had Been an MPD Officer Since 2003 & Responded to the US Capitol Riots
Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Kristen Metzger told CNN that Hashida was found dead in his home Thursday, July 29, 2021. He joined the Metropolitan Police in 2003 and was among those who responded to the U.S. Capitol riots, she told the outlet.
“Officer Gunther Hashida, assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division, was found deceased in his residence on Thursday, July 29,” she said, according to CNN.
“We are grieving as a Department and our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends,” the statement continued.
Hashida’s visitation is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home and Crematory, and his funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, August 7, at the same location in Dale City, Virginia, his obituary says. He will be buried at Dumfries Cemetery in Dumfries, Virginia.
AsAm News identified Hashida as a Japanese American in ethnicity.
A person wrote a post on Democratic Underground about his own Japanese ethnicity and how it led him into public service in the military.
The comment said:
Many of us Japanese Americans, even in the younger generations, dedicated ourselves to public service and joined the military or became police officers-at least in part because of the skepticism, bigotry, distrust and disdain that our country had for us years prior. It was in many ways their way of saying ‘we love this country too and are as much a part of defending it as you are regardless of what you did to our friends and family for what we look like.’ For me, I joined the military in part because I wanted to prove to -at least myself, that my Japanese and German heritage does not make me ‘The axis powers,’ like my peers as a child would like me to believe.
Gunther Hashida, however, did prove he was a patriot, gave his life to protecting his country from terrorism, and is exponentially a better person than every piece of s*** that tried to kill him on 1/6, but succeeded today. May he rest in peace, and may we bring justice to him and to everybody who continues to protect our country.
4. Hashida Was the Fourth Police Officer Who Responded to the US Capitol Riots to Die by Suicide
CNN reported that Hashida was the fourth officer who responded to the Capitol January 6, 2021, to later die by suicide, three of whom were D.C. police officers, the article said.
Prior to Hashida’s death, Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith, a 12-year veteran of the force, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, a 16-year Capitol Police veteran, died by suicide following the attack on the Capitol, according to CNN.
In the hours following the announcement of Hashida’s death, Metropolitan Police Public Information Officer Sean Hickman revealed that Officer Kyle DeFreytag had also died by suicide and was found on July 10, 2021.
Hashida’s death occurred two days after the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot held its first hearing, which included testimony from four police officers who responded to the riots.
Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone was among those who testified. He said that denial of the severity of the attacks added to the challenges faced by officers who were there, according to CBS News.
“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend, are downplaying or outright denying what happened. I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room, but too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist — or that hell actually wasn’t that bad,” he said, according to CBS.
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” he added.
5. Donations for Hashida’s Family Flooded in After News of His Death Spread
A GoFundMe campaign was activated August 1, 2021. The following day, it had raised more than $12,000 of a $50,000 goal, with donations flooding in after CNN reported Hashida’s death.
Whitney Wild, a law enforcement correspondent for CNN, wrote on Twitter at about 2:30 p.m. Eastern time that Hashida had died by suicide.
“Deeply saddened to learn another officer who responded to the U.S. Capitol on 1/6 took his own life. MPD Officer Gunther Hashida should be remembered for his heroism that day, and every other day he served in uniform,” she wrote.
By the early morning hours of August 3, 2021, the GoFundMe had raised more than $83,000 and the goal had automatically increased to $250,000. A friend of Romelia Hashida was among the first to share a link to the fundraising page.
Along with all of the emotional pain and stress this tragedy brings, it also brings financial burdens. This go fund me page was created to raise money to assist Romelia and the children with any costs that will incur during this difficult time.
The family will be extremely thankful for any support you may be able to provide.
The fundraising page was started by Hashida’s sister-in-law. A description of the GoFundMe said:
He was a devoted and loving husband and father. This fund will help support his memorial service and his family in the loss of his love and guidance.
The fund organizer is Nolvia Benitez (sister of Romelia Hashida) who is authorized to raise funds on behalf of the Hashida family. Funds will pay for the memorial service for Gunther, support for his two sons and their education, and provide lost income support for his widow, Romelia Hashida, as they all try to navigate life with the loss of their husband and father.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with assistance in English and Spanish. You can also speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.