Two Men Charged with Assaulting Capitol Officer Sicknick, Cause of Death Still Unknown

The remains of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick are carried into the hearse after a ceremony in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, DC, February 3, 2021. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via Reuters)

Federal investigators charged two men with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick during the January 6 Capitol riot, though Sicknick’s cause of death remains unknown.

George Tanios and Julian Khater — of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively — were arrested Sunday and slated to appear in federal court Monday. Multiple media reports initially indicated that Sicknick was “murdered” by rioters after being struck with a fire extinguisher, though investigators now believe that Sicknick may have died as a result of exposure to bear spray, according to the Associated Press.

The AP also reported that Sicknick’s autopsy is “incomplete” and the Capitol Police are awaiting the toxicology results to get a clearer picture.

Court records reference video evidence to make the case that Khater sprayed Sicknick and other officers with what “appears to be a can of chemical spray.”

“All react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes,” the criminal complaint reads.

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