By JACK DATE and MARK OSBORNE, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — A U.S. Capitol Police officer has died following injuries suffered in the violent siege on the building Wednesday, according to a press release from the department.
The death is the fifth connected to the riots, which saw swarms of pro-Donald Trump protesters overwhelm police barricades, surge into the Capitol and force lawmakers to go into hiding.
The officer, identified as Brian D. Sicknick, died at 9:30 p.m. Thursday evening, police said.
“Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” USCP 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. The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and our federal partners.”
Sicknick had been with the department, most recently as part of the first responder unit, since 2008.
Three people died of medical emergencies, while a 35-year-old woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by Capitol police while trying to enter a broken window into the House Chamber.
Law enforcement said more than 50 Capitol police and Metropolitan police officers suffered injuries in the rioting, and “several USCP officers have been hospitalized with serious injuries.”
“These individuals actively attacked United States Capitol Police Officers and other uniformed law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers,” the USCP said in a statement. “They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage.”
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned on Thursday afternoon in the wake of the riots. Several prominent people had called for him to step down, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the head of the police union.
Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement Thursday that officers were “frustrated and demoralized by the lack of leadership.”
“We have several protesters dead, multiple officers injured and the symbol of our Democracy, the U.S. Capitol, desecrated. This never should have happened,” Papathanasiou said in a statement.
Sicknick’s brother also spoke out in a statement sent to ABC News Thursday night.
“After a day of fighting for his life, he passed away a hero,” he said. “I would like to thank all of his brothers and sisters in law enforcement for the incredible compassion and support they have shown my family. My family and I hope that our privacy can be respected as we grieve. Thank you.”
Various lawmakers have since reacted to Sicknick’s death, including Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who tweeted: “On behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia, our thoughts & prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. May he Rest In Peace, and we work tirelessly to honor his service to the Congress and our nation.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been criticized for his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, wrote on Twitter: “Devastating. Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer the family of the U.S. Capitol Police officer who tragically lost his life keeping us safe. He was a true hero. Yesterday’s terrorist attack was a horrific assault on our democracy. Every terrorist needs to be fully prosecuted.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted: “I am truly devastated to learn that a Capitol Police officer has died as a result of yesterday’s violence at the Capitol. My heart goes out to the officer, their family, and all of our front line law enforcement that put their lives on the line each day to protect this nation.”
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said his heart is broken over the loss and added that Sicknick’s death should serve as a “reminder of the bravery of the law enforcement who protect us every day.”
Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, wrote: “I am devastated to hear about the passing of U.S. @CapitolPolice Officer Brian Sicknick and extend my deepest sympathy to his family. My staff and I cannot say enough to express our appreciation for his sacrifice to keep us safe.”
“My sincerest condolences to the Sicknick family,” tweeted Rep. Veronica Escobar. “I’m grateful for Officer Sicknick’s service to our country and his work to protect everyone who worked at the Capitol. My heart goes out to his loved ones.”
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., tweeted: “Devastating news. Please join me in praying for our fallen Capitol Police officer’s family during this heartbreaking time.”
Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, New York Rep. Paul Tonko, California Rep. Jimmy Panetta and Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton also voiced their condolences on Twitter.
“As members, staff and reporters sheltered from terrorists attacking the Capitol, countless officers risked their lives to uphold their duty to protect us,” Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., tweeted. “I’m deeply grateful for their bravery and devastated to learn that one of those heroes, Officer Brian D. Sicknick, has died.”
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