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Capitol Police officer injured on Jan. 6 cites 'trauma' of riot in resignation letter

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell announced his resignation, effective Saturday, in a letter shared with NBC News.
Capitol Police officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonell testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021.
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell testifies before the House Jan. 6 committee in July 2021.Oliver Contreras / Getty Images pool file

U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who was injured in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, announced plans to leave his job this week in a letter shared with NBC News.

Gonell said in a letter Friday to Police Chief J. Thomas Manger that his departure would take effect next Saturday.

“It is with immense sadness that I announce my formal separation from the Department effective December 17, 2022 to continue to focus on healing, both physically and mentally, from injuries I sustained in the line of duty on January 6, 2021," Gonell wrote.

"After speaking with my orthopedic doctor, my mental health providers, and my family, I think it’s in my best interest to take time off away from the daily reminders that keep re-triggering my trauma," he added.

Gonell was injured in his hands, his left shoulder, his left calf and his right foot in his efforts to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Six months after the riot, Gonell testified before the House Jan. 6 committee about the violence he witnessed, saying that he was called a traitor and a disgrace and that rioters had shouted that he should be executed.

Over the summer, Gonell testified in the trial of Kyle Fitzsimons, who was convicted of assaulting him during the insurrection.

“Although my goal has been to return to full and unrestricted duty, my medical conditions are permanent,” Gonell said in his letter. “Having to return to the scene of the crime almost every day has become taxing, unbearable and not conducive to healing.”

Gonell revealed his intention to leave the department during a Jan. 6 committee hearing this year. He previously took medical and administrative leave after the attack.

Numerous police officers sustained Jan. 6 injuries that lasted far beyond the attack on the Capitol. Former Washington Police Officer Mike Fanone, who has also offered emotional testimony about the riot, suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury.

Last week, relatives of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after the riot, refused to shake hands with GOP leaders in Congress at a ceremony recognizing officers who defended the building.