31.01.2023

FBI identifies suspect in death of Capitol police officer during Trump riot

FBI investigators have identified a single suspect in the death of a US Capitol police officer during the pro-Trump riot last month, reports say.

Officer Brian Sicknick collapsed and died after being sprayed in the face with a chemical substance, believed to be bear spray, while defending the Capitol Building on 6 January.

Investigators have now pinpointed a suspect in a video who attacked Mr Sicknick and other officers with bear spray, officials told the New York Times.

While authorities have narrowed down their search to one attacker, they reportedly do not yet have a name for the suspect.

Officer Sicknick was a 42-year-old Air National Guard veteran who served in Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan before joining the US Capitol police.

He died on 7 January with the Capitol Police saying that he “was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” and then “returned to his division office and collapsed.”

Officials initially said that he was injured after being hit with a fire extinguisher, before they focussed on him being sprayed with a chemical irritant.

Two other police officers who were on duty and defended the Capitol later died from suicide, police say.

A total of 138 officer suffered injuries during the violent incident in which supporters of Donald Trump attacked the Capitol to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

The violence led to the ex-president being impeached for a historic second time by the House before being acquitted at his trial in the US Senate.

Officer Sicknick was given the rare distinction of laying in honour in the Capitol Rotunda as a tribute from lawmakers.

Following the tribute, Officer Sicknick’s cremated remains were escorted down the Capitol steps before being taken to Arlington National Cemetery for burial.

Fur-wearing ‘QAnon Shaman’ appeals to Trump personally for pardon over Capitol riots

Jacob Anthony Chansley, who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman”, says Mr Trump invited him to storm Congress as lawmakers certified Joe Biden’s election victory.

Mr Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, handed himself in to authorities on Saturday and was subsequently charged with crimes including violent entry and disorderly conduct.

His lawyer, however, claims the 33-year-old behaved “peacefully” and should therefore have his charges dropped.

“My client had heard the oft-repeated words of president Trump,” said attorney Albert Watkins. “The words and invitation of a president are supposed to mean something.”

Speaking to CBS KMOV4 on Thursday, Mr Watkins added: “Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon him Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’ss invitation with honorable intentions.”

Mr Chansley was among hundreds of pro-Trump rioters who breached the heart of American democracy to protest against false claims by the president that the election was rigged in favour of Mr Biden.

He was pictured wearing fur, horns, white and blue face paint and gained entry to the Senate chamber, carrying an American flag and a spear around 6ft in length.

Last Wednesday’s ugly scenes have been described as some of thhe “darkest” in modern US history, prompting a ramping up of security ahead of Mr Biden’s 20 January inauguration.

Thousands of National Guard troops were deployed to the Captiol this week as Democrats began attempts to remove Mr Trump from office over his role in the attacks.

Mr Trump has been charged with “incitement of insurrection” and on Thursday became the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

He now faces trial in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required for a convictions.

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