WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C.’s chief medical examiner confirmed Monday that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes the day after confronting rioters attempting to disrupt certification of the 2020 election on Jan. 6.
Dr. Francisco Diaz told The Washington Post that the autopsy found no evidence that Sicknick, 42, suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants, nor was there any evidence detected of internal or external injuries.
Update 6:05 p.m. ET April 19: The U.S. Capitol Police issued a statement following the release of the final autopsy report by the District of Columbia’s chief medical examiner, attributing officer Brian Sicknick’s Jan. 7 death to natural causes.
“The USCP accepts the findings from the Office of the Medical Examiner, but this does not change the fact Officer Brian Sicknick died in the Line of Duty, courageously defending Congress and the Capitol. The Department continues to mourn the loss of our beloved colleague. The attack on our officers, including Brian, was an attack on our democracy. Working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the F.B.I.’s Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department, the USCP will continue to ensure those responsible for the assault against officers are held accountable,” the department stated.
The department’s statement also outlined the charges Julian Khater and George Tanios face in connection to their interactions with Sicknick during the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
Khater and Tanios are each charged with one count of conspiracy to injure an officer; three counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon; one count of civil disorder; one count of obstructing or impeding an official proceeding; one count of physical violence on restricted grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon and resulting in significant bodily injury; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct, act of physical violence on Capitol grounds,” the U.S. Capitol Police stated.
“The United States Capitol Police will never forget Officer Sicknick’s bravery, nor the bravery of any officer on January 6, who risked their lives to defend our democracy,” the department stated.
Original report: Authorities initially said that Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, before shifting their suspicions to the possibility of his having ingested a chemical substance such as bear spray, deployed by multiple protesters during the violent Jan. 6 clash, The Associated Press reported.
In turn, Julian Elie Khater, 32, and George Piere Tanios, 39, were arrested March 14 and charged with spraying Sicknick with a chemical irritant but not for causing his death.
Although Diaz’s formal ruling disputes both theories, he did acknowledge in an interview with the Post that “all that transpired” during the violent siege on the Capitol “played a role in (Sicknick’s) condition.”
Sicknick collapsed after returning to his office during the riot and died about eight hours later, on Jan. 7, the Post reported.
Specifically, Diaz told the outlet that Sicknick suffered two strokes at the base of the brain stem caused by a clot in an artery that supplies blood to that area of the body. He declined to comment, however, on whether Sicknick had a preexisting condition that contributed to the strokes, citing medical privacy laws.