Investigators are “struggling to build a federal murder case” with concern to United States Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died the night following the breach of the Capitol, CNN reported Tuesday.
Investigators are “vexed by a lack of evidence that could prove someone caused his death as he defended the Capitol during last month’s insurrection,” the report said.
Law enforcement sources at CNN said that reviewed video and photographs of the breach show Officer Sicknick engaging with rioters, but authorities “have yet to identify a moment in which he suffered his fatal injuries.”
Citing another law enforcement official, CNN said medical examiners have not found “signs that the officer sustained any blunt force trauma,” leading investigators to believe early reports about Sicknick being struck with a fire extinguisher to be untrue.
A statement released immediately following the officer’s death from Capitol Police said Sicknick was “injured while physically engaging with protesters” during the breach.
“At approximately 9:30 p.m. this evening (January 7, 2021), United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” the press release said. “Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
As noted by CNN, it remains unknown what caused Sicknick to collapse the night of the breach.
“One possibility being considered by investigators is that Sicknick became ill after interacting with a chemical irritant like pepper spray or bear spray that was deployed in the crowd,” the report outlined. “But investigators reviewing video of the officer’s time around the Capitol haven’t been able to confirm that in tape that has been recovered so far, the official said.”
It also remains unclear if Sicknick had a preexisting medical condition.
Autopsy findings from D.C.’s medical examiner remain undisclosed.
Sicknick, as noted by The Daily Wire, was reportedly a supporter of President Donald Trump:
Caroline Behringer, a former staffer who worked for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), said Sicknick was a Trump supporter who traded political barbs with her and embraced her the day after President Trump won the 2016 election.
“As the 2016 election neared, Behringer said she and Sicknick, a supporter of the then-candidate Donald Trump, traded barbs and joked whether he would prevail over the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton,” reported USA Today.
“We would kind of trade jabs about who was going to win and kind of make fun of each other for our sides being in the lead,” the former Pelosi staffer recalled.
“The day after the election, Nov. 9, 2016, Behringer recalled being devastated by the outcome and struggling to face the day as she approached the Capitol Building,” the report said. “As she walked up, the doors had been thrown open by two other officers, a request made by Sicknick when he saw her approaching.”
“I collapsed into him in tears and I knew he was a Trump supporter – he was an outspoken Trump supporter – and he put that aside in that moment to comfort a friend and it was a small gesture of kindness, but one that has always stuck with me,” said Behringer.
Sicknick lies in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
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