Fallen officer lays in honor in Capitol rotunda

National

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slain U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick lay in honor Wednesday in the building he died defending as colleagues and the lawmakers he protected paid their respects.

Sicknick died after defending the Capitol on Jan. 6 against the mob that stormed the building and interrupted the electoral count after then-President Donald Trump urged supporters on the National Mall to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat.

The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Sicknick, who died the next day, was injured “while physically engaging with protesters,” though a final cause of death has not yet been determined.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, paid their respects Wednesday, each placing their hands over their hearts and then touching the urn. A steady stream of lawmakers and police officers made its way through the Rotunda.

Sicknick, 42, of South River, New Jersey, enlisted in the National Guard six months after graduating high school in 1997, then deployed to Saudi Arabia and later Kyrgyzstan.

He joined the Capitol Police in 2008. Like many of his fellow officers, he often worked security in the Capitol itself and was known to lawmakers, staff and others who passed through the building’s doors each morning.

There are still questions about his death, which was one of five as a result of the rioting. As the mob forced its way in,

Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement officials said. He collapsed later on, was hospitalized and died. The officials could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Investigators are also examining whether he may have ingested a chemical substance during the riot that may have contributed to his death, the officials said.

Sicknick is only the fifth person to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, a designation for those who are not elected officials, judges or military leaders.

The others who have lain in honor were John Gibson and Jacob Chestnut, Jr., two officers who were killed in a 1998 shooting at the Capitol; civil rights leader Rosa Parks, who died in 2005; and the Rev. Billy Graham, who died in 2018.

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