Investigations opened into the death of U.S. Capitol Police officer from Virginia after pro-Trump riot

By: - January 8, 2021 11:54 am

Police clash with Trump supporters during a riot at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. (Alex Kent/ For the Tennessee Lookout)

WASHINGTON — A Capitol Police officer died late Thursday from injuries he sustained while a violent mob breached the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were set to vote to certify the presidential election results.

The officer, Brian Sicknick, died at 9:30 p.m. at a local hospital, according to U.S. Capitol Police. His death is being investigated by several agencies, including the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide branch and the U.S. Capitol Police. A federal probe also is underway, according to officials. USA Today and other outlets reported that Sicknick lived in Springfield.

On the Hill, bipartisan leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also announced Friday their plans to hold hearings and conduct oversight of the security failures, including Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, who is in line to become the panel’s chairman under Democratic control.

Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging” with rioters, and when he returned to his post he collapsed, officials said in a statement.

He first joined the U.S. Capitol Police in 2008, where he served in the First Responder’s Unit. Public records show he lived in suburban Virginia.

“Our hearts break over the senseless death of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was injured in the line of duty during yesterday’s violent assault on the Capitol,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said in a joint statement.

Ryan chairs the committee that handles the budget for the Capitol Police.

“Our prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues on the force,” they said.

The Capitol Police were quickly overwhelmed by the mob that descended on the Capitol following a rally in which President Donald Trump gave a speech falsely claiming the presidential election was stolen from him.

Trump then encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol, and said he would march with them, but he went back to the White House.

Several people died during the insurrection. A woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot by an officer and later died at a local hospital.

Three more people died due to medical emergencies, but the exact circumstances surrounding their deaths have not been disclosed.

It took Capitol Police hours to secure the building, with congressional staff, journalists, lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence sheltering in undisclosed locations until it was safe to return.

The House and Senate then certified the presidential election votes, declaring Joe Biden the winner.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered the flags at the Capitol to be lowered at half-staff in honor of Sicknick.

“On behalf of the House of Representatives, I send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after defending the Capitol complex and protecting those who serve and work here,” she said in a statement. “The perpetrators of Officer Sicknick’s death must be brought to justice.”

More than 50 U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metro Police officers were injured, officials said.

Pelosi called for Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to step down. Sund, along with House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger have all announced their resignations.

House leaders have also announced that investigations into the failures of Capitol Police to secure the building will be opened.

In a statement from the Senate Homeland Security panel, Peters along with Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said: “Wednesday’s violent and criminal acts directed at our Capitol, a symbol of American Democracy, will forever be a stain on our nation’s history. It is our duty as bipartisan leaders of the Senate committees with jurisdiction over homeland security, oversight and Capitol operations to examine the security failures that led to Wednesday’s attack.”

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Alexandria, called Sicknick’s death a “murder,” adding that officer was his constituent.

“Officer Brian Sicknick gave his life in the line of duty to keep us safe. I mourn his loss, and send my deepest condolences to his family. His murder multiplies the pain of this dark moment for our nation, and those who brought about this awful crime must be prosecuted and brought to justice,” Beyer said.

“Officer Sicknick was 42 years old, a military veteran who went on to serve in the United States Capitol Police for 12 years. He made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting those trapped in the Capitol amid a violent assault on our democracy itself. Like others before him who died in defense of the people’s representatives, he deserves to lie in state.”

Gov. Ralph Northam also issued condolences.

“Officer Sicknick was killed while doing his job—defending those trapped in the Capitol building amid a violent attack on our democracy. His death is a tragedy, and those responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the governor said.

“My prayers and those of the entire Commonwealth go to his family, his loved ones, and his fellow officers who work every day to protect the seat of American democracy from those who would seek to destroy it.”

Mercury Editor Robert Zullo contributed to this report.

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Ariana Figueroa
Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa is a reporter in the States Newsroom Washington, D.C, bureau. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.