U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes the day after he confronted rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to Washington's top medical examiner.
The chief medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, said Monday that an autopsy of Sicknick found no evidence the 42-year-old suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants. Diaz ruled the Sicknick, 42, died from "acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis."
The medical examiner's report showed that Sicknick was sprayed with a chemical substance around 2:20 p.m. on Jan. 6 and collapsed at the Capitol around 10 p.m. that evening. He died around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, according to the examiner's office.
Diaz told the Washington Post, which first reported the news, that the Jan. 6 events "played a role in his condition."
Federal officials arrested and charged two men last month with assaulting Sicknick with bear spray during the riot. Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, each faced an array of charges, including assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to injure an officer, although authorities stopped short of charging them with his death.
Each assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Law enforcement officials initially said that Sicknick was struck by a fire extinguisher -- an idea perpetuated by The New York Times in a February report that was quietly updated one month later. U.S. Capitol Police later said Sicknick had "succumbed to his injuries" after defending the building, although questions lingered about the cause of death.
Sicknick, who joined the force in 2008, "was injured while physically engaging with protesters," Capitol Police said. "He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries."
Sicknick was one of five people who died after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, interrupting the electoral count that certified Joe Biden as the victor of the November election. About 140 officers were injured in the siege, according to the Capitol Police officers' union.
At the beginning of February, the officer was honored in the Capitol Rotunda, where President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were among those to pay their respects.