A U.S. Capitol Police officer who was injured during the siege on the Capitol by pro-Trump extremists has died, bringing the total number of fatalities from the chaos that gripped Washington on Wednesday to five.
Brian Sicknick was a 42-year-old military veteran who had served in the Capitol Police for 12 years, Rep. Don Beyer said in a statement, adding that Sicknick was one of his constituents.
He died around 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Capitol Police said in a statement.
“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,” the law enforcement agency said. “He returned to his division office and collapsed.”
Officials said he was later transported to a local hospital, but did not survive. His death will be is being investigated by both USCP and the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, according to a statement.
The U.S. Justice Department is opening a federal murder investigation into Sicknick’s death, a source familiar with the matter told NPR’s Carrie Johnson.
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff.
“The sacrifice of Officer Sicknick reminds us of our obligation to those we serve: to protect our country from all threats foreign and domestic,” Pelosi said.
Beyer, the Congressman from Virginia, said Sicknick “gave his life in the line of duty to keep us safe.”
“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 added. “He made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting those trapped in the Capitol amid a violent assault on our democracy itself.”
Beyer called for Sicknick to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, “like others before him who died in defense of the people’s representatives.”
Sicknick was most recently assigned to the Capitol Police’s First Responder’s Unit. He is only the fifth member of the Capitol Police to die in the line of duty, according to USCP. The most recent previous fatality was in 2014.
The circumstances that led to Sicknick’s death were not immediately clear as of Friday.
During the chaos inside the Capitol, Sicknick was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to The New York Times. NPR has not independently verified that account.
Pro-Trump insurrectionists overwhelmed law enforcement as they stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the counting of electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Senior officials in charge of Capitol security have resigned, and lawmakers and other officials are vowing to investigate the breach.
One of the people who took part in the rioting inside the Capitol was Ashli Babbitt, 35, who was shot and killed by an USCP officer Wednesday. She was an Air Force veteran from the San Diego area.
Three other people also died as a result of Wednesday’s mayhem, according to D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee. He said they each died from unspecified “medical emergencies.”