Brian Sicknick was reportedly pepper-sprayed and bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher by members of a Trump-supporting mob last Wednesday as they stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the certification of the 2020 election results. The 42-year-old New Jersey native and Iraq war veteran died in an area hospital one day later. Four others have died as a result of the violence.
In a new interview published over the weekend, Sicknick’s grieving father said his son fulfilled a lifelong dream when he joined the U.S. Capitol Police in 2008.
“He loved his job,” Charles Sicknick told Reuters. “I’ll never get over this.” Elsewhere in the interview, the elder Sicknick said his son “ended up with a clot on the brain” as a result of his injuries, adding, “If they had operated on him, he would’ve become a vegetable.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered flags at all state buildings in the state to be flown at half-staff Monday to honor Sicknick, who was a South River native. A day earlier, President Donald Trump ordered the White House flag to be flown at half-staff in the officer’s memory.
Sicknick “embodied the selfless spirit of his native state, giving his life to protect our democracy from violent insurrection,” Murphy said in a statement posted to Twitter Friday. “It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly brought to justice.”
Many reports on Sicknick’s death have emphasized his outspoken support of Trump. Still, the officer rarely discussed his conservative views with his father or his mother Gladys, nor did they interfere with professional duties. In fact, one of Sicknick’s first major assignments in Washington was working at former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
“He just got along real well with everybody because he was a gentleman,” Charles Sicknick, who has requested the public not make his son’s death a political issue, told Reuters. “If any good comes out of my son’s death, I just hope that it stops all the lunacy that’s been going on in this country.”
Caroline Behringer, a former communication adviser for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, offered similar sentiments. In an interview with The Washington Post, she described Sicknick as a friend who comforted her after Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss.
“He knew how hard it was going to be for me,” she said. “Neither of us said a thing. No words needed to be exchanged. I knew that even though it was a celebratory day for him, he was going to hold me up.”
Sicknick, who will be cremated and laid to rest in Arneytown, New Jersey, is survived by his parents, brothers Ken and Craig, and girlfriend Sandra Garza. His family said Sunday they’d received condolence calls from Pelosi, Vice President Mike Pence and President-elect Joe Biden, but had yet to hear from the president.
“There really aren’t enough kind words in any language to describe how sweet Brian was,” the family said in a separate statement issued Monday. “He was truly a lovely, humble soul. ... Our loss of Brian will leave a large hole in our hearts.”