A Capitol police officer died on Thursday after he was reportedly hit in the head with a fire extinguisher while confronting a pro-Trump mob that stormed Congress during the Electoral College certification.
Lawmakers had to be evacuated from the Capitol on Wednesday after President Trump incited thousands of supporters to march to the building. The mob overwhelmed police and breached the Capitol, and dozens of officers were injured trying to control the melee. One rioter was shot and killed by police.
Officer Brian D. Sicknick “was responding to the riots…and was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. “He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
Prosecutors in the U.S. attorneys office plan to open a murder investigation into Sicknick’s death.
“Many details regarding Wednesday’s events and the direct causes of Brian’s injuries remain unknown and our family asks the public and the press to respect our wishes in not making Brian’s passing a political issue,” Sicknick’s family said in a statement to reporters.
— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) January 8, 2021
Police officers lined up outside the Capitol late Thursday evening to pay tribute after news of Sicknick’s death broke. Sicknick, who joined the force in 2008, is only the fourth Capitol Police member to die on duty since the force’s founding over 200 years ago.
Capitol Police chief Steven Sund will resign effective January 16, after police union head Gus Papathanasiou called for “change at the top.” Papathanasiou said officers were “frustrated and demoralized” with a lack of leadership in confronting the mob, and blamed the breach on poor planning by senior officers.
“Not one Member of Congress or their staff was injured. Our officers did their jobs. Our leadership did not,” Papathanasiou said. “Our Law Enforcement partners that assisted us were remarkable.”
Meanwhile, senior Trump administration officials are resigning following the riots, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Congressional Democrats are calling to impeach the president or to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.