Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. The Buzz on Florida Politics

Fallen Capitol officer always wanted to join law enforcement

The Capitol Police said in a statement that Brian Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters.”
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died Jan. 7 of injuries sustained during the riot at the Capitol the day before. A native of South River, N.J., Sicknick served in the New Jersey Air National Guard and went on to a law enforcement career, which his family said was his lifelong dream. He joined the Capitol Police in 2008.
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died Jan. 7 of injuries sustained during the riot at the Capitol the day before. A native of South River, N.J., Sicknick served in the New Jersey Air National Guard and went on to a law enforcement career, which his family said was his lifelong dream. He joined the Capitol Police in 2008. [ AP ]
Published Jan. 9, 2021|Updated Jan. 10, 2021

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.

He enlisted in the New Jersey Air National Guard that December, still a teenager, first deploying to Saudi Arabia in 1999. In 2003, he deployed to Kyrgyzstan, where the U.S. military operated a transit base supporting the war in Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in December of that year.

Related: Arrested in Pinellas: Florida man photographed carrying Pelosi’s lectern

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Sicknick became a vocal critic of the war, writing several letters to the editor of the local newspaper that sharply criticized former President George W. Bush for his management of the effort. In one July 2003 letter, published five months before his formal discharge, he said that “our troops are stretched very thin, and morale is dangerously low among them.”

In a statement issued Friday, Sicknick’s family said he “wanted to be a police officer his entire life” and had joined the Guard “as a means to that end.”

A biography issued by his family says Sicknick cared for rescued Dachshunds in his spare time and rooted for the New Jersey Devils hockey team. He is survived by his parents, Charles and Gladys Sicknick, his brothers Ken and Craig, and his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Garza.

The family asked the public to respect its wishes “in not making Brian’s passing a political issue.”

“Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember,” the family said.

Related: After deadly siege, lawmakers ask why police so outnumbered

On Saturday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities in honor of Sicknick, saying he “embodied the selfless spirit of his native state.”

“Officer Sicknick gave his life protecting the United States Capitol, and by extension, our very democracy, from violent insurrection,” Murphy said. “His needless murder at the hands of a mob bent on overthrowing the Constitution he had dedicated his life to upholding is shocking. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly identified and brought to justice.”

By Associated Press Writers Mike Catalini and Nomaan Merchant, who reported from Houston. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.

Related: Comparing police response: Black Lives Matter protests and Capitol riot | PolitiFact

• • •

Get insights into Florida politics

Get insights into Florida politics

Subscribe to our free Buzz newsletter

Political editor Emily L. Mahoney will send you a rundown on local, state and national politics coverage every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Tampa Bay Times U.S. Capitol coverage

REACTING TO RESPONSE : Did race play a role in police treatment of the U.S. Capitol mob?

CALL TO ACTION: Charlie Crist: Remove Donald Trump from office by invoking 25th Amendment

25TH AMENDMENT: When can it be used against a president?

EDITORIAL: The ugly spectacle perfectly captured the Trump-era GOP.

CLASSROOM TOPICS: Tampa Bay teachers, parents brace for tough conversations after U.S. Capitol siege

POLITIFACT FACT-CHECKS THE SIEGE: Here’s a look at the day’s short session, and the chaos that interrupted it.

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge