U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, who sustained injuries during the Jan. 6 riot, announced plans to leave his job this week in a letter shared with NBC News.
Gonell, in a Dec. 9 letter to Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger, said his separation from the department would take effect 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 sustained injuries to his hands, left shoulder, left calf and right foot in his efforts to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Six months after the riot, Gonell testified before a House panel about the violence he witnessed, saying he was called a traitor and a disgrace and that rioters had shouted he should be executed.
Over the summer, Gonell testified in the trial of Kyle Fitzsimons, who was convicted on charges of assaulting Gonell 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 first revealed his intention to leave the department during a Jan. 6 committee hearing earlier this year. He previously took medical and administrative leave following the attack.
Numerous police officers sustained Jan. 6 injuries that lasted far beyond the attack on the Capitol. Former Metropolitan Police Department Officer Mike Fanone, who has also offered emotional testimony about the riot, suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury following the Capitol assault.
Last week, family members of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after the riot, refused to shake hands with GOP leaders in Congress during a ceremony recognizing officers who defended the building during the attack.