WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police said an officer who was injured after responding to riots at the Capitol has died.
Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday due to injuries sustained while on-duty, physically engaging with protesters at the U.S. Capitol, the statement said. He is the fifth person to die because of the melee.
Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress was tallying the Electoral College votes to confirm Democrat Joe Biden won the election. Sicknick returned to his division office and collapsed, the report said. He was taken to a hospital and later died.
The death will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and federal law enforcement. Sicknick joined the Capitol police in 2008.
Democratic leaders of the House Appropriations Committee said the “tragic loss” of a Capitol police officer “should remind all of us of the bravery of the law enforcement officers who protected us, our colleagues, Congressional staff, the press corps and other essential workers″ during the hourslong takeover of the Capitol by pro-Trump protesters.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said news of the police officer’s death was “gut-wrenching.”
“None of this should have happened,” Sasse said in a statement. “Lord, have mercy.”
Two House Democrats on committees overseeing the Capitol police budgets said those responsible need to be held to answer for the “senseless” death.
“We must ensure that the mob who attacked the People’s House and those who instigated them are held fully accountable,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Ct., and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. in a statement.
Sicknick’s brother, Ken Sicknick, issued a statement through a family spokeswoman Friday, calling him a hero.
A native of South River, New Jersey, Brian Sicknick served in the New Jersey Air National Guard and went on to a law enforcement career, which his family said was his lifelong dream.
His family said it did not want to make Sicknick’s death a “political issue” as many questions remain about what happened. The statement says, “Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember.”
The rampage that has shocked the world and left the country on edge forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials over the failure to stop the breach. It led lawmakers to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a “terrorist attack.” And it is prompting a broader reckoning over Trump’s tenure in office and what comes next for a torn nation.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, under pressure from Schumer, Pelosi and other congressional leaders, was forced to resign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked for and received the resignation of the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, Michael Stenger, effective immediately. Paul Irving, the longtime Sergeant at Arms of the House, also resigned.
Sund had defended his department’s response to the storming of the Capitol, saying officers had “acted valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions.”
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called the police response “a failure.”
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a former police chief, said it was “painfully obvious” that Capitol police “were not prepared.”