2 Arrested in Attack on Capitol Officer Who Died

Julian Khater and George Tanios accused of assaulting Brian Sicknick with bear spray
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2021 10:35 AM CDT
Updated Mar 15, 2021 1:16 PM CDT
Report: 2 Arrested in Death of Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick
In this Feb. 2, 2021, photo, a placard is displayed with an image of late US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick at the Capitol.   (Brendan Smialowski/Pool via AP, File)

The circumstances surrounding the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick have been murky from the start, but authorities have made the first arrests linked to the officer. Coverage:

  • Bear spray: The Washington Post reports that two men have been charged with dousing the 42-year-old Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Julian Khater, 32, of State College, Pa., and George Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, W. Va., were arrested Sunday and charged with nine counts including assault with a deadly weapon.
  • What they don't say: NBC News notes that while authorities charged the men with assaulting Sicknick, they stopped short of charging them with killing the officer. The charges do not allege that the spraying caused Sicknick's death. The pair also are accused of dousing two other officers who were near Sicknick.
  • On video: Arrest papers allege that video shows Khater and Tanios walking together toward the Capitol building about 2pm, with Khater telling Tanios, "Give me that bear s---," per the Wall Street Journal. Tanois responds, "Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet…it’s still early." About nine minutes later, Khater is seen on body camera footage discharging a canister into the officers' faces, according to the arrest affidavit. One of the officers suffered scarring under her eyes that lasted for weeks, say authorities.

  • Sicknick's death: Sicknick died at the hospital one day after the Capitol riot, but conflicting accounts about the cause emerged almost immediately. Last month, the first reports surfaced that investigators were looking into the possibility that he was hit with a chemical irritant. The official cause of death has not yet been determined, and toxicology results are pending, notes the AP.
  • Turned in: The arrests came after tipsters identified the men from video and photographs. Tanios was turned in by a former business partner who alleged that Tanios embezzled $435,000 from their business, per the Journal. Tanios runs a sandwich shop in Morgantown. Khater was identified by a former co-worker at a food establishment in State College, Pa.
  • Possible prison: If convicted of the current charges, the men could face 20 years in prison. They are scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday.
(Read more Capitol Police stories.)

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