WASHINGTON D.C. – The cause of death for a police officer, a New Jersey native, who succumbed after the Capitol Hill riots was released on Monday, reports say.
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick had several strokes hours after he battled with a pro-Trump mob during the Jan. 6 riot and died of natural causes, according to The New York Times.
The autopsy also found no evidence that Sicknick had an allergic reaction to chemicals but the medical examiner, Francisco J. Diaz, told The Washington Post: “All that transpired played a role in his condition.”
Sicknick died from acute brainstem and “cerebellar infarcts” due to basilar artery thrombosis, according to The New York Times, otherwise known as strokes.
The FBI arrested two men and charged them with assault against Sicknick. The New Jersey native, who grew up in South River, was among several officers who were assaulted in connection to the riot. At least five rioters died in the takeover.
The two men, Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pa., and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virgina, were arrested last month and charged with conspiring to injure officers and assaulting federal officers, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Khater was arrested as he disembarked from an airplane at Newark Airport. Tanios was arrested at his home in West Virginia. Khater pleaded not guilty. He is represented by Benedict and Altman, a New Brunswick law firm.
Khater and Tanios were at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th and were observed in video footage working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes, according to the release.
During the investigation, law enforcement discovered video that depicted Khater asking Tanios to “give me that bear s**t,” the release said
Tanios replied, “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet… it’s still early.” Khater then retrieved a canister from Tanios’ backpack and walked through the crowd to within a few steps of the police perimeter, the release said.
The video shows Khater with his right arm up high in the air, appearing to be holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it at the officers’ direction while moving his right arm from side to side, the release said.
The complaint affidavit states that Sicknick, who was standing within a few feet of Khater, reacted to being sprayed in the face. The officers retreated, bringing their hands to their faces and rushing to find water to wash out their eyes, the release said.
Sicknick died the next day at a hospital, said Capitol Police at the time. After engaging with protesters, he collapsed later in the day back at his office. He was then taken to a hospital, where he died at 9:30 p.m. the following night, Jan. 7, according to Capitol Police.
In the hours following the melee, anonymous law enforcement officers told the New York Times that protesters hit Sicknick with a fire extinguisher. However, Sicknick’s family later pushed back on that account, saying they had no confirmation that happened.
“He texted me last night and said, ‘I got pepper-sprayed twice,’ and he was in good shape,” said his brother, Ken Sicknick, according to a statement the family put out and reported by ProPublica. “Apparently he collapsed in the Capitol and they resuscitated him using CPR.”
The next day, the family heard things took an unexpected turn for the worst: Sicknick had a blood clot and had had a stroke; he was on a ventilator.
He died later that night.
Sicknick grew up in South River and is an Iraq War veteran. He also graduated from Middlesex County vo-tech schools, which planted a tree in his memory after he was killed.
Sicknick graduated from the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School – East Brunswick campus on June 18, 1997. From an early age, he expressed his desire to serve in law enforcement, said Middlesex County Commissioner Ronald Rios at the time of his death. The East Brunswick school said they will be planting an oak tree on the campus in his honor.
“During his four years, Brian was well-liked by the faculty, who described him as a fine student and a kind young man,” said Rios.
Sicknick joined the Capitol Hill Police in July 2008 and most recently served in the department’s First Responder’s Unit.
Before joining the Capitol Police, Sicknick also served with the New Jersey Air National Guard. He was deployed with the 108th Security Force Squadron, 108th Wing, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. He was also deployed overseas twice in the Middle East, first in Operation Southern Watch and then in the Iraq War during Operation Enduring Freedom.