'Brian did his job': Family remembers fallen Capitol officer

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An American flag flies at half-staff in remembrance of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick above the Capitol Building in Washington, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Sicknick died from injuries sustained as President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

SOUTH RIVER, N.J. – From his early days growing up in a New Jersey hamlet, Brian Sicknick wanted to be a police officer.

He enlisted in the National Guard six months after graduating high school in 1997, deploying to Saudi Arabia and then Kyrgyzstan. Joining the Guard was his means to joining law enforcement, his family said.

He would join the U.S. Capitol Police in 2008, serving until his death Thursday after being attacked as rioters seething over President Donald Trump’s election loss stormed the U.S. Capitol, believing the president's false claims of a rigged election.

“His brother told me, ‘Brian did his job,’” said John Krenzel, the mayor of Sicknick’s hometown of South River, New Jersey. A congresswoman has asked top military officials that he be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery, and got a positive early response.

Sicknick's death has shaken America as it grapples with how an armed mob could storm the halls of the U.S. Capitol as the presidential election results were being certified, sending hundreds of lawmakers, staff and journalists fleeing for safety. Videos published online show vastly outnumbered Capitol Police officers trying in vain to stop surging rioters, though other videos show officers not moving to stop rioters in the building.

Police leadership badly miscalculated the threat despite weeks of signals that Wednesday could get violent. And they refused Pentagon help three days before the riot, and again as the mob descended. Under withering criticism, the police chief resigned as have the chief security officers for both the U.S. House and Senate.

The Capitol Police said in a statement that Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters." During the struggle, Sicknick, 42, was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement officials said. The officials could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., says she has asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. that Sicknick be buried with posthumous honors at Arlington National Cemetery.