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A US police officer has become the third suicide among those who defended the Capitol building from rioters in January.

Washington DC police officer Gunther Hashida was found dead at his home on 29 July, leaving a wife and three children.

Mr Hashida, 43, was part of the emergency response team in the Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department.

He had joined the police department in May 2003 and a fundraising page has been set up seeking donations to “support his memorial service and his family in the loss of his love and guidance”.

A police spokesperson confirmed Mr Hashida’s death to Sky News, adding: “We are grieving as a department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends.”

The officer’s suicide follows that of his colleagues Jeffrey Smith and Howard Liebengood, both of whom died within a month of the riot.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent her “deepest condolences” to Mr Hashida’s family and colleagues, describing him as “a hero who risked his life to save our Capitol, the congressional community, and our very democracy”.

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She added: “All Americans are indebted to him for his great valour and patriotism on 6 January and throughout his selfless service.

Gunther Hashida is the third police officer to kill himself after policing the Capitol riot of 6 January. Pic: Facebook
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Gunther Hashida is the third officer to kill himself after policing the Capitol riot. Pic: Facebook

“May Officer Hashida’s life be an inspiration to all to protect our country and democracy, and may it be a comfort to Officer Hashida’s family that so many mourn their loss and pray for them at this sad time.”

The Capitol was invaded by supporters of then-president Donald Trump on 6 January as a joint session of Congress was officially confirming Joe Biden’s win in the election a few months earlier.

More than 500 people were arrested, with around 140 police officers injured and one – Brian Sicknick – collapsing in his office after responding to the riot and dying the following day after two strokes.

Late in July, a congressional committee investigating the riot heard from four police officers who told them about the violence and abuse they experienced that day.

U.S. Capitol Police sergeant Aquilino Gonell; Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn are sworn in to testify during the opening hearing of the U.S. House (Select) Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/Pool
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Police officers Aquilino Gonell, Michael Fanone, Daniel Hodges, and Harry Dunn told an congressional committee about their experience policing the riot

One of the officers, Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, said that for many in the police, the trauma resulting from the riot “has not ended”.

“That day continues to be a constant trauma for us literally every day, whether because of our physical or emotional injuries, or both,” he said.

One of his police colleagues Michael Fanone added: “What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many 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 telling me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell actually wasn’t that bad.

“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

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Man sets himself on fire in protest area outside Trump trial

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A man has set himself on fire outside the courthouse in New York where former US President Donald Trump is on trial.

The man was in the designated protest area outside the courthouse.

It comes after jury selection for Trump’s hush money trial concluded with 12 people, and six alternatives, chosen to decide whether the former US president covered up payments to women who alleged they had affairs with him.

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Donald Trump labels hush money trial a ‘mess’ after jury selected

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Donald Trump labels hush money trial a 'mess' after jury selected

Donald Trump described the hush money case against him as a “mess” after the jury who will decide his fate has been selected.

Leaving the court in New York after proceedings were adjourned for the day, Trump addressed reporters, saying he was supposed to be in states like Georgia, New Hampshire and North Carolina as part of his campaign for the 2024 presidential election.

“[But instead] I’ve been here all day,” he said, labelling the trial as “unfair”.

Trump trial as it happened: Former president looks ‘bored’ in court

Trump held up a stack of news stories and editorials that he said were critical of the case while he continued railing against the trial.

“The whole thing is a mess,” he said.

It comes as all 12 jurors have been seated in the first criminal case against a former US president.

Former President Donald Trump speaks alongside attorney Todd Blanche as they return from a lunch break in his trial at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Thursday, April 18, 2024.  (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)
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Pic: AP

Members of the jury include a sales professional, a software engineer, an English teacher and multiple lawyers.

Sky News’ US partner network, NBC News reported there are seven men and five women on the jury.

It comes after lawyers grilled hundreds of potential jurors asking questions on everything from their hobbies and social media posts to their opinion of the former president.

More than half of a second group of prospective jurors were dismissed by Judge Juan Merchan on Thursday after most said they doubted their ability to be fair and impartial.

One juror was also dismissed after she said she “slept on it overnight” and woke up with concerns about her ability to be fair and impartial in the case.

The challenge now is to select six alternate jury members before the trial can move to opening statements, with Mr Merchan hopeful this will be completed on Friday.

Read more:
Judge warns Donald Trump over ‘intimidating’ potential jurors
Trump calls hush money case an ‘assault on America’

Donald Trump orders ’30 milkshakes at chicken restaurant

Trump is accused of criminally altering business records to cover up a $130,000 (£104,200) payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, during his 2016 election campaign.

Ms Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was paid $150,000 (£120,000), both claim to have had affairs with Trump.

Stormy Daniels, seen here in January, received a $130,000 payment from Trump's lawyer Pic: AP/DeeCee Carter/MediaPunch /IPX
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Stormy Daniels. Pic: AP

His lawyers say the payment was meant to spare himself and his family embarrassment, not to help him win the election.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He could get up to four years in prison if convicted.

The former president faces two other criminal trials accusing him of trying to subvert his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden, and another that accuses him of mishandling classified information after he left the White House in 2021.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

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Boeing whistleblower claims 787 Dreamliner planes ‘defective’

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Boeing whistleblower claims 787 Dreamliner planes 'defective'

Crisis-hit Boeing has rushed to defend itself from fresh whistleblower allegations of poor practice, as the airline continues to grapple its latest safety crisis.

A Congressional investigation heard evidence on Wednesday on the safety culture and manufacturing standards at the company – rocked in January by a mid-air scare that saw an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 flight suffer a panel blowout.

One Boeing quality engineer, Sam Salehpour, told members of a Senate subcommittee that Boeing was taking shortcuts to bolster production levels that could lead to jetliners breaking apart.

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He said of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, that has more than 1,000 in use across airlines globally including at British Airways, that excessive force was used to jam together sections of fuselage.

He claimed the extra force could compromise the carbon-composite material used for the plane’s frame.

“They are putting out defective airplanes,” he concluded, while adding that he was threatened when he raised concerns about the issue.

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Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour testifies during the Senate homeland security subcommittee hearing. Pic: AP
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Boeing quality engineer Sam Salehpour testifies during the Senate homeland security subcommittee hearing. Pic: AP

The engineer said he studied Boeing’s own data and concluded “that the company is taking manufacturing shortcuts on the 787 programme that could significantly reduce the airplane’s safety and the life cycle”.

Boeing denied his claims surrounding both the Dreamliner’s structural integrity and that factory workers jumped on sections of fuselage to force them to align.

Two Boeing engineering executives said this week that its testing and inspections regimes have found no signs of fatigue or cracking in the composite panels, saying they were almost impervious to fatigue.

The company’s track record is facing fresh scrutiny amid criticism from regulators and safety officials alike in the wake of the incident aboard the Alaska Airlines plane.

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What’s going on at Boeing?

It has become a trust issue again after the worst period in Boeing’s history when two fatal crashes, both involving MAX 8 aircraft, left 346 people dead in 2018 and 2019.

All 737 MAX 8 planes were grounded for almost two years while a fix to flawed flight control software was implemented.

A separate Senate commerce committee heard on Wednesday from members of an expert panel that found serious flaws in Boeing’s safety culture.

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Boeing CEO: ‘We fly safe planes’

One of the panel members, MIT aeronautics lecturer Javier de Luis, said employees hear Boeing leadership talk about safety, but workers feel pressure to push planes through the factory as fast as they can.

In talking to Boeing workers, he said he heard “there was a very real fear of payback and retribution if you held your ground”.

Pressure on Boeing to focus on safety has included restrictions placed on production, limiting its manufacturing output.

At the same time, it is still facing three separate investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Justice Department and the National Transportation Safety Board relating to the panel blowout.

A management shake-up announced amid the inquiries will see the chief executive depart the company by the year’s end.

Sky News has approached British Airways for comment.

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