Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes, it was ruled Monday
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was given full state honors after he was treated as a martyr in the wake of the January riots, actually died of natural causes, a medical examiner ruled.
Sicknick died after suffering two strokes following the Capitol riots, the District of Columbia’s chief medical examiner announced Monday.
The strokes weren’t related to any injuries he might have sustained during the riots, according to the examiner’s determination.
The ashes of the officer, 42, had been brought to lie in state in the Capitol’s historic Rotunda in February. It was widely assumed that he’d died from his injuries that came during the January 6 attack; he died the next day.
Since 1852, only about three dozen distinguished Americans have ‘lay in state,’ including Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
The most recent politician to lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda was U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader whose casket was place there last July.
Even President Joe Biden took a moment of silence in front of the urn carrying the cremated remains of the fallen cop, reaching out and touching the wooden box before holding his hand to his heart. He was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden.
The category of ‘laying in honor’ was created in 1998 in order to recognize distinguished Americans outside of the political realm: Sicknick was the fifth American to receive the honor reserved for people who aren’t political leaders.
Sicknick was honored after his death with his cremated remains lying in the center of the Capitol Rotunda in the wake of the riots
Capitol Police officers paid their respects to Sicknick when he was lying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on February 3
Fellow officers saluted the remains of Sicknick, who is one of only five Americans who weren’t political leaders to get the honor of lying in state
Joe and Jill Biden were among those who paid their respects to Sicknick while his remains were on display in the Rotunda
Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democrat Rep. Steny Hoyer also came together to pay their respects
The program during the ceremony honoring Sicknick, who was treated as a martyr in the wake of the riots in which it was initially presumed he died of injuries sustained during the melee; instead, the Washington DC medical examiner said Monday he died of natural causes
The hearse carrying Sicknick’s remains left the Capitol after a ceremony in the Rotunda honored him with full state honors
Members of the military also paid their respects to Sicnick as his ashes lay in state
The first two citizens to lay in honor in the Rotunda were Capitol Police officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, who were fatally wounded in 1998 by a gunman who ran to the offices of then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay.
The other two were civil rights leader Rosa Parks in 2005 and the Reverend Billy Graham in 2018.
Sicknick was among five people who died after the riot as some supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol after being whipped up into a frenzy during a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.
During the riot, Sicknick is said to have been sprayed with a chemical irritant.
Investigators initially believed he had been struck by a fire extinguisher but that was later disproven. They also thought, at first, that his death maybe be linked to ingesting the chemical irritant.
Footage has emerged showing the moment a man identified as Julian Khater allegedly deployed bear spray at Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick during the January 6 insurrection
Sicknick is seen rubbing his face after he was struck by bear spray during the riots. Medical Examiner Francisco J. Diaz, however, found no evidence that Sicknick suffered any adverse reactions to chemical irritants that he was sprayed with
In one of the videos, a man identified as Khater could be seen deploying a stream of liquid in the direction of Sicknick, who turns and runs for cover, holding his hands over his eyes with an agonized expression
George Pierre Tanios (left and right) is facing multiple criminal counts, including assaulting police with a deadly weapon and obstructing an official proceeding after allegedly spraying Sicknick withan irritant
His official cause of death, according to the medical examiner, has been ruled as acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis.
That means he suffered two devastating strokes in his brain stem causes to a clot in an artery.
His manner of death was ruled ‘natural’, which is used when a disease alone causes the death. The examiner’s office clarified that the manner of death is not considered natural if it is hastened by an injury.
Sicknick had been sprayed with a chemical substance outside the US Capitol at about 2.20pm on the day of the riots.
Two men have been charged with assaulting Sicknick in the melee. It isn’t clear whether their charges could be affected by the medical examiner’s ruling, which isn’t a determination of criminal intent.
On the day of the riots, Sicknick returned to his division office that evening and collapsed at about 10pm.
Police initially said that Sicknick, who joined the force in 2008, had been injured while engaging with protesters.
He was rushed to hospital and placed on a ventilator but died at about 9.30pm the following night.
Washington DC Chief Medical Examiner Francisco J. Diaz, however, found no evidence that Sicknick suffered any adverse reactions to chemical irritants that he was sprayed with by some of the rioters.
Early reports had suggested that Sicknick had been struck over the head by a fire extinguisher during the chaos but in the weeks after the attack new information emerged disputing that narrative.
Sicknick’s brother, Ken Sicknick, told ProPublica that the officer texted him on the night of the riots and said he had been ‘pepper-sprayed’ but was in ‘good shape’.
Ken said his brother’s condition rapidly deteriorated over the next 24 hours before he was intubated and treated for a blood clot and a stroke. He died at about 9.30pm on January 7, Ken said.
FROM HISTORY: First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is pictured looking at the coffin of her slain husband President John F. Kennedy as his casket lays in state at the US Capitol in 1963
FIRST TWO: The first two citizens to lay in honor in the Rotunda were Capitol Police officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, who were fatally wounded in 1998 by a gunman who ran to the offices of then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay
Sicknick’s mother, Gladys Sicknick, spoke to DailyMail.com last month and said she believed her son suffered a fatal stroke.
‘We think he had a stroke, but we don’t know anything for sure,’ she said, before the examiner’s Monday ruling.
She said the family has been largely left in the dark about the investigation into Sicknick’s death, adding: ‘We’d love to know what happened.’
The two men accused of spraying the irritant at Sicknick, George Pierre Tanios and Julian Elie Khater, were arrested and are facing multiple felony charges, including assaulting police with a deadly weapon.
No murder charges were ever filed in Sicknick’s death.
The New York Times had obtained a string of video clips that allegedly showed Tanios, Khater and Sicknick at several points before, during and after the spray incident.
In one of the videos, a man identified as Khater could be seen deploying a stream of liquid in the direction of Sicknick, who turns and runs for cover, holding his hands over his eyes with an agonized expression.
Sicknick – who had served in the New Jersey Air National Guard- was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The imposing sight of the Rotunda, which hosted the remains of Sicknick, seen below