Officer Brian Sicknick died of strokes caused by a blood clot in the artery of his brain.
The coroner in the United States’ capital has ruled that policeman Brian Sicknick, who was sprayed with a chemical substance during the January 6th uprising in the US Capitol, died of natural causes a day later after two strokes.
In a report released Monday, the Washington, DC medical examiner’s office said Sicknick died after suffering strokes caused by blood clots at the base of his brain.
The official cause of death was “acute brainstem and cerebellar infarction due to an arterial thrombosis”.
According to the coroner’s report, Sicknick was sprayed with a chemical substance outside the US Capitol on the afternoon of January 6th when hundreds of rioters tried to overrun the building.
The 42-year-old collapsed a few hours later and was taken to a local hospital, where he died the next night.
Justice Department prosecutors have charged two men, Julian Khater and George Tanios, with attacking with a deadly weapon after investigators said they sprayed at least three officers, including Sicknick, with a strong chemical, possibly bear spray.
The DC Medical Examiner’s report states that Sicknick’s death was caused by illness, not other factors such as injury, and was not a murder or the result of an accident. The autopsy found no evidence that Sicknick had suffered an allergic reaction.
Sicknick was among hundreds of police offers battling rioters who attempted to overrun the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
“Everything that happened played a role in his condition,” said Dr. Francisco Diaz, DC’s chief medical officer, told The Washington Post.
Acting US attorney Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement Jan. 8, after Sicknick was discovered to have died from injuries sustained in the riot, that the Justice Department “would not save resources on investigating and holding those responsible”.
The DC Medical Examiner’s ruling now makes it very difficult for federal prosecutors to bring murder charges against the two men who were arrested and accused of assaulting Sicknick and other officials during the riot.
Sicknick’s remains were honored in February in the US Capitol Rotunda, where lawmaker and President Joe Biden paid their respects.