Washington — U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was fatally injured during the January 6 pro-Trump violent riots, was recognized by congressional leaders Wednesday as a "peacekeeper" who was "caught in the wrong place on the wrong time," as he lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
While the Capitol building is closed to members of the public because of thepandemic, members of the Capitol Police and lawmakers paid their respects to Sicknick on Wednesday morning. A congressional tribute took place at 10:30 a.m. and featured remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and other congressional leaders from both parties also attended the ceremony.
"A peacekeeper, not only in duty, but in spirit," Schumer said of Sicknick, reflecting on his military and law enforcement career. "Talk to his colleagues, and they will tell you that Brian was a kind and humble man, with profound inner strength, the quiet rock of his unit."
Sicknick, he continued, "was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and on a day when peace was shattered."
"That Brian and his family were made to pay such a high price for his devoted service in the Capitol was a senseless tragedy, one that we are still grappling with," Schumer said.
Pelosi vowed that when lawmakers enter the Capitol, they will remember the sacrifices made by Sicknick and other officers who fought to protect the Congress.
"Our promise to Brian's family is that we will never forget his sacrifice, we must be vigilant," she said. "We will never forget."
After serving in the New Jersey Air National Guard, Sicknick joined the Capitol Police in 2008. He suffered a head injury while engaging with rioters during the pro-Trump assault on the Capitol last month, and Capitol Police said he collapsed after returning to his division office. Sicknick died at a local hospital on January 7. He was 42.
Sicknick's remains arrived at the Capitol building on Tuesday night, with scores of his fellow Capitol Police officers gathering as they were escorted up the Capitol steps and into the Rotunda. President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden paid their respects to the slain officer Tuesday night. Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff visited the Rotunda on Wednesday morning to pay their respects.
Sicknick is the fifth private citizen to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, following fellow Capitol Police officer Jacob Chestnut and Capitol Police detective John Gibson, who were shot and killed at the Capitol in 1998, civil rights leader Rosa Parks in 2005 and the Reverend Billy Graham in 2018.