Sicknick had two strokes, died of natural causes after Capitol riot

The office of the D.C. chief medical examiner has determined that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes the day after he worked to defend the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot.

An autopsy found no evidence the 42-year-old suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants, which would have caused his throat to seize, Medical Examiner Francisco J. Diaz told The Washington Post on Monday. Diaz also said there were no indications of internal or external injuries.

In an email to The Hill, a report by the medical examiner’s office indicates Sicknick was sprayed with a chemical irritant around 2:20 p.m. on the day of the riot. He later collapsed at the Capitol and was transported to the hospital that night where he died the following evening.

Two men were arrested and charged last month with assaulting Sicknick. They each face nine counts related to the Capitol attack, including the assault of Sicknick and two other federal agents with a chemical irritant.

The medical examiner’s office said in its report that “an unprecedented incident of civil insurrection at the United States Capitol resulted in the deaths of five individuals.” 

Diaz told the Post that Sicknick suffered two strokes at the base of his brain stem, which were caused by a clot in an artery that provides blood to that part of the body. Diaz, however, could not comment on if Sicknick had preexisting medical conditions citing privacy laws.

Capitol Police said in a statement Monday that it accepts the medical examiner’s findings and that it did not “change the fact Officer Sicknick died in the line of duty, courageously defending Congress and the Capitol.”

“The Department continues to mourn the loss of our beloved colleague. The attack on our officers, including Brian, was an attack on our democracy,” the department said. 

Sicknick, who joined the department in 2008, was among five people who died in the wake of the riot by a mob of supporters of former President Trump who stormed the Capitol as Congress was working to certify the Electoral College victory that affirmed President Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

The riot resulted in members of Congress, their staff, then-Vice President Mike Pence and journalists to scramble for safety and hole up for hours while authorities worked to secure the building.  

Cristina Marcos contributed. Updated at 5:42 p.m.

Tags Capitol Riots Donald Trump January 6 insurrection Joe Biden Mike Pence
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