Brian D Sicknick, 42, was the fifth person to die following the riots (Picture: Facebook)
A federal murder investigation is to be launched after a police officer was killed in the Capitol Hill riots, officials have said.
Brian D Sicknick, 42, is thought to have died after being hit over the head with a fire extinguisher as law enforcement clashed with a mob of Donald Trump supporters on Wednesday.
He collapsed after returning to his division office and was taken to a local hospital where he was put on life support, before dying at around 9.30pm local time.
His death is being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch, the US Capitol Police and their federal partners.
Chaos broke out in the Capitol Building as the mob charged past security in an attempt to halt the certification process of President-elect Joe Biden, convinced by Trump’s baseless claims the election was stolen due to voter fraud.
Five people have been confirmed dead so far following the unrest, including three who suffered medical emergencies and a female Trump supporter who was shot dead by police.
Sicknick joined the Capitol Police in July 2008 and most recently served in the department’s First Responders Unit, CNN reports.
In a statement, the force said: ‘The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss, and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague.’
US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund has said he plans to resign after thousands of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building, some of whom he says ‘actively attacked’ officers with metal pipes and other weapons.
In a statement, he said: ‘They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage.
‘The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.
Maintaining public safety in an open environment — specifically for First Amendment activities — has long been a challenge.’
President-elect Biden called the mob ‘domestic terrorists’ and laid the blame at Trump’s feet, describing the attack as a ‘culmination’ of his four year ‘attack’ on democracy.
A growing number of politicians are calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before the end of his term on January 20, otherwise Congress pay proceed to impeach him.
The Commander-in-Chief has been accused of inciting Wednesday’s violence at a ‘Save America’ rally in Washington earlier that day, where he repeated his unsubstantiated claims that he would have won the election if it weren’t for voter fraud.
This is despite Trump’s Justice Department, federal courts, including the Supreme Court, and state governments all saying repeatedly that the vote was carried out freely and fairly.
Trump told followers: ‘You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.’
His personal attorney Rudy Giuliani also spoke at the rally, calling for a ‘trial by combat’ to settle the dispute.
Trump was temporarily blocked by Twitter and Facebook after he urged his ‘very special’ supporters to go home in a video message without accepting any part in the chaos.
In a tweet, he said: ‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & peace. Remember this day forever.’
Facebook has suspended Trump ‘indefinitely’, but he returned to Twitter late on Thursday with a video message in which he finally accepted the election result and said he was ‘outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem’ he is accused of inspiring.
The US leader has been slammed after claiming his ‘only goal’ in contesting the election was to ‘ensure the integrity of the vote’ as he ‘fought to defend American democracy’ – despite never having any evidence the election was ‘rigged’.
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