Two arrested in assault on police officer who died after Capitol riot
Two men have been arrested for assaulting Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after responding to the riots on January 6, the Department of Justice announced Monday. The details surrounding Sicknick’s death remain unclear.
Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, are accused of spraying police officers with a chemical spray. They face nine counts, including assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors said surveillance video showed Kater and Tanios working together to assault law enforcement with the chemical spray and tear down bike rack barriers that were guarding the Capitol building.
They also viewed an open-source video of the attacks they said showed Khater approaching Tanios, saying, “Give me that bear s***,” and “They just f*****g sprayed me.” Khater is then shown holding a white can that appears to be chemical spray. Later, they said Khater sprayed the chemical toward three officers.
“The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes,” the affidavit reads. Prosecutors said the officers were temporarily blinded and required medical attention.
Sicknick reported being pepper-sprayed with a substance. The two other officers described the spray as a “substance as strong as, if not stronger than, any version of pepper spray they had been exposed to during their training as law enforcement officers.”
Later that night, Capitol police said Sicknick, 42, returned to “his division office and collapsed.” He was taken to a local hospital where he died. His cause of death has yet to be determined.
His brother, Ken Sicknick, said Brian wanted to be a police officer his entire life. “Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember,” Ken said in a January statement.
Prosecutors said a tipster flagged Khater’s LinkedIn page to investigators, who then contacted his former colleague in State College, Pennsylvania. After reviewing old work documents, the ex-colleague confirmed Khater was his last name.
Meanwhile, investigators received two tips including photos of Tanios at the Capitol riot. Prosecutors said Tanios was wearing clothing with “Sandwich University” in his profile photo and in other photos from January 6. The tipster said Tanios is the owner of Sandwich University, a fast-food restaurant in Morgantown.
Both men appeared in court Monday. Prosecutors are requesting detention so the men will stay behind bars for the time being. Tanios has a bail hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Federal prosecutors have charged more than 300 people and have arrested over 280 in connection with the Capitol riot on January 6. Officials have called it “the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”
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