MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (KDKA/AP) – A federal judge ordered a sandwich shop owner from Morgantown to be detained pending trial for allegedly assaulting a U.S. Capitol officer during the riots.
George Tanios and Julian Khater were arrested and charged with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 attack. Sicknick later died, but they don’t know yet whether it caused the officer’s death.READ MORE: PART 1: Questions About Pa. Recovery Houses Arise After Overdose Death In Munhall
Neither man is charged with homicide.
The idea that Sicknick died after being sprayed by a chemical irritant has emerged in recent weeks as a new theory in the case.
Investigators initially believed that Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to two people familiar with the case. But as they’ve collected more evidence, the theory of the case has evolved and investigators now believe Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance — possibly bear spray — that may have contributed to his death, officials have said.
“Give me that bear (expletive), Khater said to Tanios on the video, according to court papers. Sicknick and other officers were standing guard near metal bike racks, the papers say.READ MORE: Cast Your VOTE In The Waffles, INCaffeinated-PTL Sandwich Challenge
Khater then says, “they just (expletive) sprayed me,” as he’s seen holding a white can with a black top that prosecutors said “appears to be a can of chemical spray.”
Sicknick died after defending the Capitol against the mob that stormed the building as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win over Donald Trump. It came after Trump urged supporters on the National Mall to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat.
The circumstances surrounding Sicknick’s death remain unclear, and a final cause of death has not been determined. Capitol Police have said he died after he was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” and the agency’s acting chief said officials consider it a line-of-duty death.
Sicknick collapsed later on and died at a hospital on Jan. 7. The Justice Department opened a federal murder investigation into his death, but prosecutors are still evaluating what specific charges could be brought in the case, the people said.
The medical examiner’s report on Sicknick’s death is incomplete. Capitol police say they were awaiting toxicology results.MORE NEWS: Robinson Chick-Fil-A Owner Gives Employees Big Gifts At Christmas Party
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