U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died of injuries suffered when supporters of President Donald Trump assaulted the legislative building, the force said on Thursday, bringing to five the number dead from the riot.
It was the first law enforcement death stemming from the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday which saw flag-waving crowds overwhelm police and break into the legislature.
Four protesters died, including a woman who was shot by police. Three other deaths were reported on the Capitol grounds, but the circumstances remained unclear.
Officer Brian Sicknick, a 12-year veteran of the force, was “responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the US Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” Capitol Police said in a statement.
Metropolitan homicide officials will investigate the death of Sicknick, who joined the U.S. Capitol Police in 2008, along with the Capitol force and its federal partners, police said.
Trump, who initially praised his supporters, later condemned the violence, saying the rioters had defiled the seat of American democracy and must be held accountable. A woman demonstrator was fatally shot by authorities, and three people died from medical emergencies.
After a rally where Trump exhorted his supporters to “fight” to overturn the Nov. 3 election he lost, hundreds of them stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing senators and members of the House of Representatives to evacuate as they smashed windows and looted.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned on Thursday, joining a growing list of aides leaving Trump’s administration in protest at the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
As Democratic leaders demanded his ouster, Trump came closer to a formal concession, acknowledging in a video released on Thursday evening that a “new administration” would be sworn in on Jan. 20 and vowing to ensure a “smooth transition”.