Capitol cop Brian Sicknick's cause of death still pending as officials detail how Trump rioters died

Key Points
  • The cause of death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump remains under investigation.
  • The Washington, D.C., chief medical examiner released the causes of death of four Trump fans who died during the riot.
  • The violence at the Capitol began after Trump urged supporters to help him fight the confirmation by Congress of the election victory of Joe Biden.
A U.S. Capitol Police Officer pays his respects to fellow officer Brian Sicknick, who died on January 7 from injuries he sustained while protecting the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 attack on the building, as he lies in honor in the Capitol Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2021.
Leah Millis | Reuters

The cause of death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick remained under investigation Wednesday, even as an official released the causes of death of four other people who died as a direct result of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Capitol Police have said Sicknick was injured "while physically engaging with protestors" during the riot.

The violence began after then-President Trump and his prominent supporters urged attendees at a rally outside the White House to help them fight the confirmation of then-President elect Joe Biden's electoral victory by a joint session of Congress.

Sicknick died a day after the riot, during which hundreds of Trump backers rampaged through the halls of Congress and battled with police.

Two men, Julian Elie Khater of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios of Morgantown, West Virginia, were arrested in March on charges related to assaulting Sicknick and two other law enforcement officers with a bear spray-like chemical.

But neither man is charged with killing Sicknick.

One of the four Trump supporters who died during the riot, Ashli Babbitt, was already known on the day of the riot to have been fatally shot by a cop guarding the House of Representatives chamber as Babbitt and others moved toward that room.

Babbitt, 35, was shot in her left shoulder, according to Dr. Francisco Diaz, the chief medical examiner of Washington, D.C., who on Wednesday said her death was a homicide.

No one has been criminally charged with shooting Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who most recently was running a pool-supply company near San Diego.

Another Trump supporter, Roseanne Boyland of Kennesaw, Georgia, died in an accident from "acute amphetamine intoxication," Diaz said Wednesday.

Boyland, 34, was previously known to have abused drugs, but her family said she had been sober for several years only to fall under the sway of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, whose adherents fervently back Trump.

Justin Winchell, a friend of Boyland's who was with her during the riot, told a CBS affiliate in Atlanta in January that she had been trampled in a surge by a huge crowd when Trump supporters pushed against police guarding the Capitol.

Rioters clash with police trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors, January 6, 2021. police.
Lev Radin | Pacific Press | LightRocket | Getty Images

Boyland's brother-in-law, Justin Cave, told media outlets in Atlanta, "I've never tried to be a political person, but it's my own personal belief that the president's words incited a riot that killed four of his biggest fans last night and I believe that we should invoke the 25th Amendment at this time."

The 25th Amendment allows the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members to remove a president's powers if the president is declared unfit.

The deaths of the other two Trump supporters during the riot — 55-year-old Kevin Greeson and 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips — were ruled to be natural, with both the result of hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, Diaz said.

Greeson, a resident of Athens, Alabama, who previously supported President Barack Obama, appeared to have suffered a heart attack and was seen by reporters undergoing chest compressions by EMTs.

The New York Times has reported that Greeson, who had worked at a Goodyear plant, was talking to his wife on the phone on the west side of the Capitol complex when he collapsed onto a sidewalk.

The Alabama Political Reporter news site noted that Greeson was active on Parler, the social media platform favored by conservatives, where he on Dec. 29 commented on a post "about the possibility of President Donald Trump calling upon militias to intercede and converge on Washington, D.C.:

"I'm in ... call me I have guns and ammo!" wrote Greeson, who in another Parler post displayed a photo of him holding two assault rifles, with two pistols stuck in his belt.

Philips, a computer programmer who lived in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, organized a bus full of fellow Trump supporters to go to Washington on Jan. 6 to hear Trump speak.

Philips told The Philadelphia Inquirer before the trip that he wanted to see what Trump would do.

"It seems like he called us there for a reason, I think something big's about to go down that no one's talking about yet," he told the newspaper. "I think he has an ace up his sleeve."

As he drove a van behind the bus headed to Washington, Philips told The Inquirer, "It seems like the first day of the rest of our lives, to be honest."

"They should name this year Zero because something will happen."