WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal investigators investigating the death of a police officer police Capitol building killed in the January 6 riot focused on a suspect seen in video appearing to spray a chemical on the officer before he collapsed and later died, two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press.
The FBI has obtained a video showing the person spraying Brian Sicknick and other law enforcement officers during the January 6 riot, people said. But they warned that federal agents had yet to identify the suspect by name and that the act was not directly related to Sicknick’s death.
The idea that Sicknick died after being sprayed with a chemical irritant has emerged in recent weeks as a new theory in the case.
Investigators initially believed Sicknick had been hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements gathered at the start of the investigation, according to one of the people and another law enforcement official briefed on. the case. But as they gathered more evidence, the theory of the case evolved and investigators now believe Sicknick may have ingested a chemical – possibly bear spray – during the riot that may have contributed to his death, the responsible.
People were unable to publicly discuss details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Sicknick died after defending the Capitol from the mob that stormed the building as Congress voted to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Donald Trump. It came after Trump urged supporters of the National Mall to “fight like hell” to reverse his defeat.
The circumstances surrounding Sicknick’s death remain unclear and the final cause of death has yet to be determined. The police du Capitole said he died after being injured “while physically engaging with protesters” and this week the agency’s acting chief said officials considered him a death while on duty .
Sicknick later collapsed, was hospitalized and died. The Justice Department has opened a federal murder investigation into his death, but prosecutors are still assessing specific charges that could be brought in the case, people said.
In a press release on Friday evening, the police du Capitol said the medical examiner’s report into Sicknick’s death was not yet complete. “We are awaiting toxicology results and continue to work with other government agencies regarding the death investigation,” the statement said.
The New York Times first reported that investigators were focusing on a suspect in the case; CNN previously reported that law enforcement collected video evidence to identify a handful of potential suspects.
The FBI has already released around 250 photos of people wanted for assaulting federal law enforcement officials during the riot. Some have already been arrested and the Justice Department said around 300 people had been charged with federal offenses related to riot.
- According to the source AP sources: Feds pinpoint suspect in officer’s riot death.
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