One of the police officers who took his own life in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol “wasn’t the same” after being struck in the head with a metal pole, his wife told The Washington Post. Erin Smith said her late husband, Jeffrey Smith, thought he might die that day, texting her, “London has fallen,” in the midst of the siege. At one point, rioters threw a pole at him, hitting his helmet and face shield. He was ultimately put on sick leave and continued to suffer pain in the days after the attack. “He wasn’t the same Jeff that left on the sixth... I just tried to comfort him and let him know that I loved him,” she told the 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.”
The D.C. cop was ordered back to work after a second visit to a police clinic in mid-January. He killed himself the day he was scheduled to return for an overnight shift, with police finding him in his car along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. “If he didn’t go to work that day, he would still be alive,” said Smith, who wants her husband’s suicide recognized as a “line of duty” death.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741