SOUTH RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A U.S. Capitol police officer who was injured in the riot died Thursday night.
He was from New Jersey.
As CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reports, Officer Brian Sicknick was raised in South River. It’s a tight knit community, very blue collar, and Friday night, it’s a community in mourning.
The violent demonstrations that consumed the capitol this week left five people dead, including 42-year-old Sicknick. He’d been a U.S. Capitol police officer since 2008. A native New Jersey, his family in a statement says Brian wanted to be a police officer his entire life. They say he’s a hero, and that’s how he ought to be remembered.
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South River Mayor John Krenzel knows the family.
“The town is hurt by what has happened. The family is devastated. Talking to Brian’s brother this morning, he says the family needs time,” Krenzel said.
Sicknick wasn’t just an officer. He was a member of the New Jersey Air National Guard.
“Staff Sgt Sicknick’s commitment to service and protect his community, state, and nation will never be forgotten,” New Jersey National Guard State Public Affairs Officer Lt. Col. Barbara Brown said in a statement.
Chief Master Sgt. Lance Endee was deployed overseas alongside Sicknick for six years.
“Service to him was everything,” Endee said. “Made a huge impact to everyone around him.”
He says dozens of service members who knew Brian reached out once they heard what happened.
“Brian always had a smile on his face, whether we were putting 18 hour days, dirty, tired, obviously cold, Brian always had a joke. He always had a pat on somebody’s back to raise their spirits,” he said.
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. pic.twitter.com/LWnxOEhjJw
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) January 8, 2021
Gov. Phil Murphy released a statement Friday, saying,”Officer Sicknick gave his life protecting the United States Capitol, and by extension, our very democracy, from violent insurrection.”
Murphy went on to say. “His needless murder at the hands of a mob bent on overthrowing the Constitution he had dedicated his life to upholding is shocking. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly identified and brought to justice.”
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags lowered to half staff in Officer Sicknick’s memory.
He is one of only three officers ever to die defending the Capitol itself.
Sicknick joined the Capitol Police Department in July 2008 and most recently served on its first responder unit.
As CBS Baltimore reports, he was responding to Wednesday’s siege when he was struck in the head by the violent mob. He returned to his office and collapsed after suffering a stroke, according to reports. He was rushed to a hospital, but died from his injuries.
His brother, Ken Sicknick, told CBS News he “wanted to be a police officer his entire life” and joined the New Jersey Air National Guard “as a means to that end.”
“Many details regarding Wednesday’s events and the direct causes of Brian’s injuries remain unknown and our family asks the public and the press to respect our wishes in not making Brian’s passing a political issue,” Ken said in a statement. “Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember.”
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said he was “deeply saddened and heartbroken” by Sicknick’s death, adding the officer “gave his life defending democracy and protecting the lives of hundreds of men and women—including myself and my staff—during the storming of the U.S. Capitol by violent insurgents.”
He was the fifth person to die from the attack.
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CBS2’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.