Washington, DC – Federal investigators said they are struggling to build a murder case in connection with the death of U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Officer Brian Sicknick, who died one day after “physically engaging with protesters” during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol building.
Officer Sicknick 42, collapsed at his division office after he was “injured while physically engaging with protesters” at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, the USCP said in a press release at the time.
The department did not elaborate on the injuries he suffered, but two law enforcement officials said he was hit with a fire extinguisher as rioters stormed through the halls of Congress and lawmakers hid beneath their desks, The New York Times reported.
Officer Sicknick was rushed to a local hospital, where his family learned he had a blood clot on his brain and had been placed on a ventilator, his brother, Craig Sicknick, told the Daily Beast.
The veteran officer remained hospitalized until his death the following night, according to the USCP.
“After a day of fighting for his life, he passed away a hero,” Officer Sicknick’s brother told ABC News in a statement.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office assembled a team to oversee a federal murder investigation shortly after Officer Sicknick passed away, WBAL reported.
The team has reviewed photographs and videos that showed Officer Sicknick engaging with rioters during the mayhem, but have been unable to identify exactly when he might have suffered any fatal injuries, according to the news outlet.
Details regarding what caused the 13-year department veteran to collapse have not been released, nor have the findings from the medical examiner, WBAL reported.
One law enforcement official claimed the medical examiner found no evidence Officer Sicknick suffered blunt force trauma, leading investigators to believe that allegations he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher could be inaccurate, according to the news outlet.
Investigators are looking into whether or not pepper spray or bear spray might have contributed to his illness, as well as any preexisting medical conditions he may have had, WBAL reported.
According to court documents, over 100 law enforcement officers suffered injuries during the Capitol building riot, including at least 15 officers who ended up being hospitalized.
One video from the scene showed a suspect hitting uniformed USCP and DC Metropolitan Police Department officers with a metal baseball bat, WBAL reported.
Other court documents accused a rioter of hurling a fire extinguisher at a group of law enforcement officers, hitting three of them in their heads.
Congressional leaders announced Officer Sicknick would lie in honor at the Capitol rotunda ahead of his burial at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday.
An arrival ceremony took place on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday night, followed by a private viewing period for the USCP, WTOP reported.
A viewing for members of Congress commenced on Wednesday morning prior to a departure ceremony slated to begin at noon.
The fallen officer’s family said they are grateful for the honor.
“The family of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick thanks the Congressional leadership for bestowing this historic honor on our fallen American hero,” they said in a statement, according to WTOP. “We also wish to express our appreciation to the millions of people who have offered their support and sympathies during this difficult time. Knowing our personal tragedy and loss is shared by our nation brings hope for healing.”