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WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors are opening murder investigation after the death of a U.S. Capitol police officer on Thursday following the invasion of Congress by pro-Trump supporters, CNN reported on Friday, citing a forces official of the order.
Representatives of the US attorney’s office in Washington could not be contacted immediately to confirm the report. The Washington Police Department’s homicide division is investigating alongside federal law enforcement, U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement Thursday evening.
The officer, Brian Sicknick, was the fifth person to die after the Trump supporters riots on Wednesday on the U.S. Capitol. The Republican president had called them to Washington for a rally and urged them to fight as lawmakers gathered to certify his electoral defeat to Democrat Joe Biden. The dead also included rioters.
“Those responsible for the death of Officer Sicknick must be brought to justice,” said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement offering condolences to her family. She ordered that the Capitol’s flags be halved in her honor. White House spokesman Judd Deer and Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy also expressed their condolences.
Police at the United States Capitol Building said “Sicknick was responding to riots … and was injured while physically engaging with protesters.”
Sicknick, 40, suffered a stroke and was on life support before he died, a CBS News affiliate reported. He was a 12 year veteran of the force.
Trump, who initially praised his supporters, then condemned Wednesday’s violence, saying the rioters should be held responsible. A protester was shot dead by the authorities and three people died as a result of a medical emergency.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund announced Thursday that he would step down on January 16 – four days before Biden’s inauguration.
Pelosi called for Sund’s resignation after the federal force tasked with protecting Congress failed to keep Trump supporters out of Capitol Hill, sending lawmakers to safety as rioters smashed windows and looted the building.