Medical examiner says officer injured in Capitol insurrection died of natural causes

US & World

FILE – In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, a U.S. Capitol Police officer holds a program during a ceremony memorializing U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, as an urn with his cremated remains lies in honor on a black-draped table at the center of the Capitol Rotunda in Washington. The D.C. medical examiner’s office says Sicknick, who was injured during the Jan. 6 insurrection, suffered a stroke and ruled the officer died from natural causes. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – The D.C. medical examiner’s office ruled Monday that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was injured during the Jan. 6 insurrection, suffered a stroke and died from natural causes.

Sicknick was among five people who died after the riot. Two men, George Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, and Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, PA, have been charged with assaulting Sicknick in the melee.

Investigators initially believed he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to two people familiar with the case. And they later thought perhaps Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance — possibly bear spray — that may have contributed to his death.

But the determination of a natural cause of death means the medical examiner found that a medical condition alone caused his death — it was not brought on by an injury. The determination is likely to significantly inhibit the ability of federal prosecutors to bring homicide charges in connection with Sicknick’s death.

Lawyers for the men charged with assault had no comment.

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. It came after Trump urged supporters on the National Mall to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat.

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