The Senate Sergeant at Arms, Michael Stenger, who was responsible for security the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has died.
Stenger served in this role from April 2018 through January 2021. He resigned Jan. 7.
His death comes just one day before the select committee investigating the Jan. 6th event holds a “surprise” hearing. The committee announced the hearing on the day of Stenger’s sudden death, and promised to reveal “recently obtained evidence.”
Chad Pergram, FOX News reporter, broke the story of Stenger’s death, which has not yet been confirmed by family or friends.
1) Fox confirms that Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms who was in charge of Senate security the day of the Capitol riot, has died.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 27, 2022
Shortly after the attack on the Capitol, Steven Sund, former chief of United States Capitol Police, said that Stenger recommended ahead of the protests “that he informally request the [National] Guard to be ready in case it was needed to maintain security.” But, House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said that if Stenger or the Capitol Police Chief had concluded ahead of Jan. 6 that Guardsmen were needed, he wouldn’t have hesitated to have reinforcements ready.
Other reports indicate that the National Guard was not requested because of optics, as Capitol officials did not want to show they couldn’t “control their own turf.”
In videotaped testimony from February 2021, Stenger told the Senate Homeland Security Committee there was an opportunity to learn from the events of Jan. 6.
Michael Stenger, Senate Sergeant at Arms on January 6th, was found dead today..
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) June 28, 2022
“Investigations should be considered as to the funding and traveling of what appears to be professional agitators,” he stated.
“In conclusion, whenever you prepare for a major event, it’s always considered a possibility of some level of civil disobedience at these demonstrations and plan accordingly,” he said. “The events of January 6th went beyond disobedience. This was a wild coordinated attack where the loss of life could have been much worse.”
The Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper is the chief law enforcement officer for the Senate and is charged with maintaining security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings, according to the Senate’s website.
Stenger and other Capitol security officials received bipartisan criticism following the protests on Jan. 6.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) threatened to “fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate.”
“The ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation’s flag, fought with law enforcement, and tried to disrupt our democracy, and with those who incited them,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at that time. “But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”
Stenger had previously served three years as Chief of Staff for the Senate Sergeant at Arms and spent 35 years in the Secret Service.