U.S. Capitol Police officer dies after shoveling snow at Delaware home

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Sunday, January 24, 2016
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Snow is piled in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016.

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. Capitol Police officer has died of a heart attack he suffered after shoveling snow at his home in Delaware.

Nicole Alston says her husband, 44-year-old Officer Vernon Alston, collapsed Saturday afternoon outside their home in Magnolia after he'd been shoveling snow for about an hour. She says he died within seconds.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Alston's death on Sunday, calling him "a fixture on the Capitol grounds." Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine says in a statement that Alston was a 20-year veteran of the force, calling his death "a tragic loss."

Nicole Alston says her husband leaves behind a 3-year-old son as well as a teenage son and daughter from a previous marriage. She also has a teenage daughter from a previous marriage.