Wife of Capitol cop, 35, questions medical care after he killed himself

Jeffrey Smith, 35, shot himself in the head on Jan. 15 as he headed into work for an overnight shift, less than two weeks after he was hit by the pole in the Capitol

Jeffrey Smith, 35, shot himself in the head on Jan. 15 as he headed into work for an overnight shift, less than two weeks after he was hit by the pole in the Capitol

Jeffrey Smith, 35, shot himself in the head on Jan. 15 as he headed into work for an overnight shift, less than two weeks after he was hit by the pole in the Capitol

The second police officer who took his life following the Capitol riots in D.C. ‘wasn’t the same’ after he suffered a serious head injury during the attacks on the building, according to his devastated wife.

Jeffrey Smith, 35, shot himself in the head on Jan. 15 as he headed into work for an overnight shift, just a day after he had a follow-up appointment at the police & fire clinic. 

‘He wasn’t the same Jeff that left on the 6th. . . . I just tried to comfort him and let him know that I loved him,’ his wife, Erin, told the Washington Post. ‘I told him I’d be there if he needed anything, that no matter what, we’ll get through it. I tried to do the best I could.’ 

Smith was found in his beloved Ford Mustang. The vehicle had rolled into an embankment along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, just a little ways away. 

The officer, who grew up in Illinois, would become the second cop from the Capitol riots to take his life. Howard Liebengood, 51, took his life just three days after the riot. Both committed suicide after Brian D. Sicknick died following his collapse in the Capitol. 

When the rioters initially took to storming the building, Smith texted his wife at around 2.38pm to give her brief insight to the chaos that was unfolding. 

'He wasn't the same Jeff that left on the 6th... I just tried to comfort him and let him know that I loved him,' his wife, Erin, said. Pro-Trump protesters tear down a barricade as they clash with Capitol police during the riot

'He wasn't the same Jeff that left on the 6th... I just tried to comfort him and let him know that I loved him,' his wife, Erin, said. Pro-Trump protesters tear down a barricade as they clash with Capitol police during the riot

‘He wasn’t the same Jeff that left on the 6th… I just tried to comfort him and let him know that I loved him,’ his wife, Erin, said. Pro-Trump protesters tear down a barricade as they clash with Capitol police during the riot

The officer, who grew up in Illinois, would become the second cop from the Capitol riots to take his life. Howard Liebengood, 51, took his life just three days after the riot

The officer, who grew up in Illinois, would become the second cop from the Capitol riots to take his life. Howard Liebengood, 51, took his life just three days after the riot

The officer, who grew up in Illinois, would become the second cop from the Capitol riots to take his life. Howard Liebengood, 51, took his life just three days after the riot

‘London has fallen,’ the officer said to Erin, who was watching the violence on live stream from the couple’s home in Virginia. 

Just six minutes after that text and another Capitol Police officer would fire a shot that killed Ashli E. Babbitt, 35, of San Diego, as she stormed her way inside the building.

Both took their life after Brian D. Sicknick died following his collapse in the Capitol

Both took their life after Brian D. Sicknick died following his collapse in the Capitol

Both took their life after Brian D. Sicknick died following his collapse in the Capitol

Smith didn’t hear that gunshot, Erin shared, but he did hear the ‘shots fired’ call that was frantically yelled over police radio. He would later tell his wife that the alert sent him into a state of panic, wondering if he would die at the hands of the deranged rioters. 

At around 5.35, Smith was struck by a metal pole that hit his helmet and face shield. 

As the day turned into night, Smith would find himself stationed with other officers outside of a hotel where insurgents were believed to be staying. The officers had been ordered to arrest anyone who exited the hotel, breaking the citywide curfew that had been enforced by D.C.’s mayor.   

Smith would tell his two supervisors that he was in pain from being hit by the pole at 9pm. He was directed to the Police & Fire Clinic in Northeast Washington, checking into the facility at 10.15, according to records.  

‘Hit with flying object in face shield and helmet,’ Smith wrote about the injury, adding that he ‘began feeling pain in my neck and face.’

The officer checked out of the clinic at 1.31am on Jan. 7, with his status listed as ‘sick.’ There was no diagnosis listed, however.   

‘He told me it was chaos,’ Erin said of the clinic. ‘There were so many people there.’

In the next few days, Erin noted that her husband seemed in constant pain, unable to turn his head. Smith didn't leave the house or even walk the couple's dog. She said that the cop refused to talk with other people or watch television, with her even waking up in the middle of the night to find him pacing or sitting in bed

In the next few days, Erin noted that her husband seemed in constant pain, unable to turn his head. Smith didn't leave the house or even walk the couple's dog. She said that the cop refused to talk with other people or watch television, with her even waking up in the middle of the night to find him pacing or sitting in bed

In the next few days, Erin noted that her husband seemed in constant pain, unable to turn his head. Smith didn’t leave the house or even walk the couple’s dog. She said that the cop refused to talk with other people or watch television, with her even waking up in the middle of the night to find him pacing or sitting in bed

Erin does believe that her husband hated the idea of returning back to work after the riot. Police clash with rioters

Erin does believe that her husband hated the idea of returning back to work after the riot. Police clash with rioters

Erin does believe that her husband hated the idea of returning back to work after the riot. Police clash with rioters

In the next few days, Erin noted that her husband seemed in constant pain, unable to turn his head. Smith didn’t leave the house or even walk the couple’s dog. She said that the cop refused to talk with other people or watch television, with her even waking up in the middle of the night to find him pacing or sitting in bed. 

Erin added that for his follow-up appointment, Officer Smith was only seen for roughly 10 minutes. Police would not comment on the visit, citing privacy laws. 

She wants his complete medical file, as she wonders whether Smith had a serious head injury, despite being ordered back to work. 

The widow shares that she and her husband didn’t discuss much about the events at the Capitol, but Erin did assert that she felt that the officers went through a terrible ordeal when the building was besieged. Smith had not been diagnosed or exhibited signs of depression prior to then, lawyer’s for the family said. 

Erin does believe that her husband hated the idea of returning back to work. 

‘If he didn’t go to work that day,’ Erin said, ‘he would still be alive.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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