MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Since he was a young man Brian Sicknick wanted to be a police officer. After serving in the Air Force National Guard, Sicknick became a Capitol Police Officer in Washington, DC in 2008. Yesterday, he lost his life after being attacked by rioters who invaded the Capitol on Tuesday. He was struck with a fire extinguisher, and he was gassed, ultimately succumbing from a blood clot on his brain. He was 42 years old.
Raised in South River, NJ, Officer Sicknick was a graduate of the East Brunswick Campus of the Middlesex County Vocational Technical Schools. According to Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Bicsko, "Brian Sicknick graduated from the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School - East Brunswick Campus on June 18, 1997. Brian’s career major was Electronics. During his four years, Brian was well liked by the faculty who described him as a steady worker, fine student and a nice young man. According to school records, Brian wanted to be a police officer."
He was an airman before becoming a police officer. As an Air National Guardsman, he served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom.
In a statement quoted in Military times, New Jersey Air National Guard officials said they were saddened by the loss and offered condolences to his family. “Staff Sgt Sicknick’s commitment to service and protect his community, state, and nation will never be forgotten.”
Sicknick served in the Guard from 1997 to 2003. Officials said he served on the 108th Security Forces Squadron, 108th Wing based out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.
According to a Press Release from the U.S. Capitol Police, "At approximately 9:30 p.m. on January 7, 2021, United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty.
Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and our federal partners.
Officer Sicknick joined the USCP in July 2008, and most recently served in the Department’s First Responder’s Unit."
"The circumstances surrounding Mr. Sicknick's death were not immediately clear, and the Capitol Police said only that he had “passed away due to injuries sustained while on duty.” At some point in the chaos — with the mob rampaging through the halls of Congress while lawmakers were forced to hide under their desks — he was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials, according to a report in The New York Times today. However, the Times report also suggests that the officer may have been injured by chemicals sprayed by rioters.
Officer Sicknick was only the fourth officer of the Capitol Police to be killed in the line of duty since its founding two centuries ago.
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the Capitol campus to be flown at half-staff in honor of Sicknick. Several lawmakers have also called for Sicknick to be allowed to lie in honor at the Capitol, as a way to recognize his sacrifice on behalf of the country, according to The Military Times.
On Facebook, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated, "U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick embodied the selfless spirit of his native state, giving his life to protect our democracy from violent insurrection. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly brought to justice."
The New Jersey State Policeman's Benevolent Association posted a photo of Sicknick and the following statement on Twitter, "A #Hero has been lost. NJ native Officer Brian Sicknick died after defending US Capitol against rioting mob. Keep his family, friends, and fellow officers in your thoughts and prayers. The violence and attacks on police and our government have no place in our country."
Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin P. McCabe released the following statement on the death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick:
“On behalf of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, I would like to extend my condolences and my prayers to the family of Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died in the senseless violence at the Capitol Complex. Officer Sicknick was a South River native who dedicated his life to keeping the peace and protecting our elected leaders. His death at the hands of those who disrespect our democratic ideals is unconscionable and those who are responsible must be held accountable."
Yesterday, Governor Murphy initiated a deployment, stating, "Upon the request of United States National Guard Bureau, I am authorizing the deployment of 500 members of the New Jersey National Guard to Washington, D.C. to protect our democracy and facilitate the peaceful transition of power. Our republic is built on the principles of democracy, peace, and the right of the American people to freely choose their leaders. The brave men and women of our National Guard will be deployed in order to preserve these sacred principles. May God Bless America and our men and women in uniform."