WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after the January 6th incursion a the U.S. Capitol. According to news reports at the time, it was believed Sicknick died of blunt force trauma from a fire extinguisher, but that rumor by the press was later debunked by investigators and his family.
What was confirmed was that Sicknick was sprayed with bear spray and may have had a negative reaction that could have caused his death. That investigation continues and now, the Department of Justice has identified the suspects who sprayed him.
Agents have charged Julian Khater, 39, of Pennsylvania and George Tanios,32, of West Virginia.
During the investigation, law enforcement received information from a tipster regarding a subject identified in a posting by the DOJ seeking to identify witnesses. The tipster relayed that the subject was the same person who owned a Linkedin page belonging to Julian Khater. Based on a review of this Linkedin page, law enforcement identified and spoke by telephone to an informant who stated the man in the photo was a former work colleague of Khater.
Investigators also received tips that helped them to identify George Tanios.
The DOJ said officers Sicknick, Edwards, and Chapman suffered injuries as a result of being sprayed in the face with an unknown substance by Khater . The officers were temporary blinded by the substance, were temporarily disabled from performing their duties, and needed medical attention and assistance from fellow officers.
They were initially treated with water in an effort to wash out the unknown substance from their eyes and on their face. All three officers were incapacitated and unable to perform their duties for at least 20 minutes or longer while they recovered from the spray. Officer Edwards reported lasting injuries underneath her eyes, including scabbing that remained on her face for weeks. Officers Edwards and Chapman also described the spray to their face as a substance as strong as, if not stronger than, any version of pepper spray they had been exposed to during their training as law enforcement officers. Officer Sicknick reported to his supervisors and colleagues that he had been sprayed in the face with a substance.
Both men were charged with conspiracy to injure an officer, three charges of assaulting an officer, civil disorder and other charges related to their presence at the incursion.