The FBI have managed to single out the person responsible for Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick’s death but have yet to determine their identity
Two unnamed law enforcement officials who have been briefed on the inquiry, said investigators have zeroed in on an individual seen in video footage of the riot who attacked several officers with bear spray, including Brian Sicknick, the policeman who died.
Sicknick, 42, was among a vastly outnumbered group of police officers confronted by the mob who stormed the Capitol in a bid to stop Congress from certifying the election of President Joe Biden.
The violence led to the impeachment of Trump by the U.S. House of Representatives on a charge of inciting an insurrection, but he was acquitted by the Senate in a trial held after he left office.
According to the New York Times, FBI agents began to suspect soon after opening a homicide probe that Sicknick’s death was related to his inhalation of a chemical irritant, such as mace or bear spray, which both law enforcement officers and rioters were armed with during the insurrection.
A homicide investigation into Sicknick’s death opened soon after the January 6 attack. Pictured, Capitol police push back a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump after they stormed the building
Investigators have now managed to pinpoint a person seen on video of the riot who attacked several officers with bear spray, including Officer Sicknick.
According to one of the officials cited in the Times’ report, video evidence shows that Sicknick’s suspected assailant discussed attacking officers with bear spray beforehand.
Prosecutors may also be more likely to bring charges of assaulting an officer, rather than murder.
Medical examiners have yet to rule on the cause or manner of Sicknick’s death, as the autopsy is pending results of toxicology tests, the Capitol Police said in a statement on Friday.
Sicknick was initially thought to have been struck with a fire extinguisher but there was no evidence to support that he had died from any blunt force trauma
Sicknick’s body did not have evidence of major blunt force trauma and investigators believe that he had an adverse reaction to pepper spray. Above, a Trump supporter is seen deploying bear spray at the Capitol riot
Well over 100 officers were injured in the riot and five people died.
Although investigators have narrowed potential suspects seen in video footage to a single person this week, they have yet to identify that individual by name, the Times reported.
Officer Sicknick died the day following the riot on January 7. The Capitol Police issued a statement that said he ‘was injured while physically engaging with protesters,’ and then ‘returned to his division office and collapsed.’
Initially the officer was thought to have been struck with a fire extinguisher but the coroner’s report found no evidence to support that he had died from any blunt force trauma.
Investigators have managed to pinpoint an as yet unidentified person seen on video who attacked several officers with bear spray, including Officer Sicknick
A hearse leaves the Capitol with the cremated remains of U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, in Washington, D.C.
The newspaper said the U.S. Justice Department declined to comment. The FBI has also declined to comment.
More than 200 people have been arrested for their role in the Capitol siege.
A number of them are associated with militant groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, underscoring rising concern about threats posed by right-wing extremists.
Sicknick received one of the highest tributes that Congress can bestow on a civilian, when his remains lay in honor at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman pays respects to U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington
Earlier this week, Capitol Police leadership were grilled by Congress as to their failures in policing the event which left rank-and-file officers exposed against armed rioters who came within steps of lawmakers.
In an appearance before a House subcommittee, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said none of the warnings forecast the mass attack that actually took place.
Both Democrats and Republicans took issue with that, saying the intelligence sounded both specific and credible.
‘I cannot get past a glaring discrepancy between intelligence received and preparation,’ Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said during Thursday’s hearing before the House Appropriations Committee.
Pittman insisted that the force took appropriate measures to protect the building and the lawmakers who were inside in the day of the riot.
She said they stationed armed officers at the homes of congressional leaders, intercepted radio frequencies used by the invaders, and deployed counterintelligence officers to the Ellipse rally where Trump was sending his supporters marching to the Capitol to “fight like hell.”
But the mob made it through the police line and smashed their way into the Capitol, fighting past officers who were outnumbered and overwhelmed.
Many officers didn’t know if they could use force and lacked guidance on how to stop the rioters, leaving some to improvise.
Pittman became acting chief when her predecessor, Steven Sund, resigned in the wake of the insurrection.
At the time of the attack, she was serving as assistant chief for protective and intelligence services.