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Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes the day after a violent riot broke out at the U.S. Capitol Building in early January, according to the D.C. medical examiner.
Immediately following Sicknick’s death, The New York Times reported on January 8 that Sicknick “was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials.” Two men were later accused of spraying Sicknick with a chemical irritant.
However, Francisco J. Diaz, the medical examiner, told The Washington Post on Monday that the autopsy found no evidence that Sicknick suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants. Diaz said that “all that transpired” during the events of January 6 “played a role in his condition.”
Diaz could not comment due to privacy laws on whether Sicknick had any preexisting medical conditions that may have contributed to his death. The Washington Post noted that the medical examiner’s ruling will “likely will make it difficult for prosecutors to pursue homicide charges in the officer’s death.”
The U.S. Capitol Police released the following background information on the case:
Officer Sicknick, 42, joined the Department in July 2008, and most recently served in the Department’s First Responder’s Unit.
On March 14, Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, were arrested for assaulting Officer Sicknick.
Khater and Tanios are each charged with one count of conspiracy to injure an officer; three counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon; one count of civil disorder; one count of obstructing or impeding an official proceeding; one count of physical violence on restricted grounds, while carrying dangerous weapon and resulting in significant bodily injury; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct, act of physical violence on Capitol grounds.
The United States Capitol Police will never forget Officer Sicknick’s bravery, nor the bravery of any officer on January 6, who risked their lives to defend our democracy.
Officer Sicknick’s family requests their privacy be respected during this difficult time.
“The USCP accepts the findings from the Office of the Medical Examiner, but this does not change the fact Officer Brian Sicknick died in the Line of Duty, courageously defending Congress and the Capitol,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. “The Department continues to mourn the loss of our beloved colleague. The attack on our officers, including Brian, was an attack on our democracy. Working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the F.B.I.’s Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department, the USCP will continue to ensure those responsible for the assault against officers are held accountable.”