Police officer died of 'natural' causes day after Capitol riot: Medical examiner

Ruben Fields
April 20, 2021

Washington, D.C.'s chief medical examiner on Monday ruled that a Capitol Police officer died of natural causes following multiple strokes after the attack on the Capitol, a finding that will make it harder for prosecutors to charge anyone with his murder.

Sicknick, 42, grew up in South River, in the same county as two suspects charged with assaulting him, Julian Khater and George Tanios, who were raised in New Brunswick.

The medical examiner noted that Sicknick was among the officers who engaged the Capitol mob, and he said "all that transpired played a role in his condition".

He did not suffer an allergic reaction to the chemical irritants dispensed by rioters, Diaz told the Post, nor was there evidence of internal or external injuries.

On Jan 8, the New York Times published a report claiming Sicknick died following a blunt-force blow to the head from a fire extinguisher by rioters. The case is being investigated by D.C. police, who handle all deaths in the District, along with the Capitol Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sicknick died after defending the Capitol against the mob that stormed the building as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden's electoral win over Donald Trump.

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The publicly disclosed timeline of events records Sicknick being sprayed at 2:20 p.m. He promised that local and federal authorities would "spare no resources in investigating and holding accountable those responsible". Two men have been charged with assaulting Sicknick in the melee.

"Give me that bear shit", Khater said before he reached into Tanios' backpack, according to court papers.

After it was discovered that Sicknick showed no signs of blunt trauma, some media outlets began speculating that he may have died as a result of a chemical irritant he inhaled after being sprayed by the rioters.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., paid tribute to Sicknick on the Senate floor on January 19, saying the officer understood "that wearing that uniform, wearing that badge, that you had a sacred duty to protect this sacred space".

"When white supremacists attacked our nation's capital, they took the life of one of our officers", said Sen. Ken Sicknick, Brian's brother, told ProPublica in a story published on January 8, Brian texted the family he had been pepper-sprayed at the Capitol but felt fine. "They took a sibling away from their brothers".

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