WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the moment of silence memorializing Officers Chestnut and Gibson:
“The preceding moment of silence was an important and appropriate tribute to the memory of two fine, brave men who gave their lives to protect those of us privileged to serve here on behalf of the American people, as well as those who happened to be visiting this Capitol Building on July 24, 1998.
“Five years ago today, at 3:40 p.m., mere paces from this spot on the House Floor, Officer Jacob “J.J.” Chestnut and Detective John Michael Gibson confronted a lone, psychotic gunman and both were slain in the line of duty before this assailant was subdued.
“Our moment of silence is a measure of respect not only for their memories, but also for their families and loved ones. For, above all, it is they who suffered the most grievous loss on that mid-summer day five years ago. Today, we want them to know that the thoughts and prayers that were with them then are still present today.
“J.J.” Chestnut and John Gibson could have chosen another line of work, but they were called to the service of law enforcement, a profession upon which all free societies, indeed all societies based on order and the rule of law, depend.
“We are the beneficiaries of their decision.
“J.J.” and John are shining examples of the professionalism and commitment that has marked the proud history of the United States Capitol Police since its creation by Congress 175 years ago this year.
“And their fate in July 1998 is the most painful reminder that we cannot – we must not – take our Capitol Police for granted. It is they who stand on the front lines in safeguarding this United States Capitol, a symbol of freedom and democracy in our nation and across the world.
“So, today, I believe there can be no more fitting tribute to the bravery of “J.J.” and John than our commitment to provide unwavering support for those who follow in their service. And I know the Members of this body will join together in that objective.”