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Capitol Police officer dies from injuries in pro-Trump riot

Capitol Hill police chief resigns
Capitol Hill police chief, staff members resign in aftermath of electoral vote confirmation chaos 03:44

A U.S. Capitol Police officer died Thursday night after sustaining injuries at the pro-Trump riot in Washington, D.C., just a day prior, authorities said. The 42-year-old officer, identified as Brian D. Sicknick, was injured while "physically engaging with protesters."

The details surrounding Sicknick's death are unclear. Capitol Police said he died at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. "He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries," police said in a statement. The police department's homicide branch is investigating, alongside federal partners.

Sicknick was the fifth death linked to the violent mob at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Four civilians also died, including three who police said suffered medical emergencies and one woman who was fatally shot by police.

Sicknick was born the youngest of three brothers in South River, New Jersey. His brother Ken Sicknick said Brian "wanted to be a police officer his entire life" and joined the New Jersey Air National Guard "as a means to that end."

"Many details regarding Wednesday's events and the direct causes of Brian's injuries remain unknown and our family asks the public and the press to respect our wishes in not making Brian's passing a political issue," Ken said in a statement. "Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember."

Vice President Mike Pence called Sicknick's family Friday afternoon to express his condolences, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to CBS News.

Sicknick joined the Capitol Police in July 2008 and most recently served in the Department's First Responder's Unit. "The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick's family and friends on their loss and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague," the department statement said.

Brian Sicknick
Officer Brian Sicknick U.S. Capitol Police via AP

The angry mob on Wednesday overwhelmed police officers, breaching the Capitol Building, breaking windows, rampaging through congressional offices and fighting officers. More than 50 officers were injured in the chaos. On Thursday, Capitol Police Chief  Steven Sund said he would resign amid heavy criticism that his department was unprepared for the violence despite warning signs on social media.

Ahead of his announcement, Sund defended his department's response. "The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.," Sund said in a statement. "Maintaining public safety in an open environment — specifically for First Amendment activities — has long been a challenge."

Flags at the Capitol were lowered to half-staff Friday to honor the fallen officer, as lawmakers mourned his passing and offered condolences to his family. 

Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, called Sicknick's death "gut-wrenching." 

"None of this should have happened," Sasse said in a statement. "Lord, have mercy."

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Sicknick gave his life to protect the U.S. Capitol from "violent insurrection."

"His needless murder at the hands of a mob bent on overthrowing the Constitution he had dedicated his life to upholding is shocking. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly identified and brought to justice."

Sara Cook and Fin Gomez contributed reporting.

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