The Slatest

FBI Reportedly Identifies Suspect Who Sprayed Capitol Officer With Chemicals Before He Died

A U.S. Capitol Police office salutes at attention as a truck carrying the bike of US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick departs the US Capitol building on February 3, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
A U.S. Capitol Police office salutes at attention as a truck carrying the bike of US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick departs the US Capitol building on February 3, 2021, in Washington, D.C. ALEX EDELMAN/Getty Images

The FBI has recently gotten its hands on a video that allowed them to identify an attacker in its investigation of the death of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who was injured in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and later died. The New York Times was first to report that investigators are now focusing on one suspect who apparently sprayed a chemical irritant at Sicknick and other law enforcement officers as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

Authorities haven’t publicly identified the suspect but the focus on the video could be a potentially significant break in the case as investigators had been struggling to figure out what happened to Sicknick. They now believe his death was related to the irritant, an apparent bear spray. In a significant move, investigators have also uncovered video evidence showing the assailant discussing attacking officers with the bear spray. Police audio played during former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial included portions in which officers were heard screaming that some rioters were spraying bear spray.

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Investigators have so far determined Sicknick didn’t die of blunt force trauma, according to the Washington Post. There is little detail about what could have caused his death considering authorities haven’t released an autopsy or toxicology report. In a statement late Friday, Capitol Police said that the medical examiner’s report on Sicknick’s death has not been finished yet. Sicknick was injured while pushing back rioters and then “returned to his division office and collapsed,” according to a Capitol Police statement issued the day after the riot. He died in the hospital. For now, given all the evidence, prosecutors are unlikely to be able to charge anyone with murder and are more likely to bring assault charges.

The investigation into Sicknick’s death is seen as a top priority but is only one aspect of the huge investigation into the Jan. 6 riot. John Carlin, the acting deputy attorney general, said Friday more than 300 people have been charged in connection to the storming of the Capitol. More than 280 have been arrested.

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