Brian Sicknick died of natural causes after Capitol riot, medical examiner rules

A US Capitol Police Officer holds a program as people pay their respects at the remains of US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick as he lays in honor in the Rotunda of the US Capitol building on February 3, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Demetrius Freeman | AFP | Getty Images

Police officer Brian Sicknick suffered strokes and died of natural causes a day after he grappled with a riotous mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters during the Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol, Washington’s chief medical examiner ruled.

The ruling, released Monday by the office of Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz, could complicate efforts to prosecute two men who were charged last month with assaulting Sicknick with a chemical spray.

The office noted that the 42-year-old Sicknick was “sprayed with a chemical substance outside the U.S. Capitol” during the invasion at about 2:20 p.m.

At around 10 p.m. that night, Sicknick collapsed at the Capitol and was transported to a hospital, according to the ruling. He died there at 9:30 p.m. the following evening.

Sicknick’s official cause of death was “acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis,” Diaz’s office determined.

The manner of death — the circumstances surrounding Sicknick’s passing — was “natural.” That term is used when a death is caused solely by a disease, and is not hastened by an injury, according to the ruling.

But Diaz in an interview with The Washington Post noted Sicknick’s role in confronting the rioters hours before his collapse, saying, “all that transpired played a role in his condition.”

Still, Diaz told the newspaper that Sicknick’s autopsy found no evidence that the officer had an allergic reaction to the chemical irritants sprayed at him during the riot.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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