Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2021, in protest of Trump's loss to President-elect Joe Biden, prompting a lockdown of the Capitol Building. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A Capitol Police officer has died from injuries sustained during a siege by supporters of President Donald Trump on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday that Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called "acts of domestic terrorism and sedition" and requested the Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate.
During a press conference Thursday, Bowser said the mob's failure a day earlier to stop Congress from certifying the presidential election win by President-elect Joe Biden shows democracy prevailed.
"This should send a clear message to our nation and the world that despite actions of an unhinged president and those that believe the baseless conspiracies that have been peddled by him and by other elected officials that the United States remains strong," she said.
U.S. Capitol Police confirmed late Thursday that an officer injured during the siege on the Capitol has died.
Officer Brian D. Sicknick died at 9:30 p.m. due to "injuries sustained while on-duty," the Capitol Police statement said.
Sicknick was injured during a physical confrontation with protesters and collapsed after returning to his division office when he was taken to local hospitals, the statement said, adding his death is being investigated by the homicide branch of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Earlier Thursday, Rep. Dean Phillips, R-Minn., wrote on Twitter that he'd been advised that a U.S. Capitol Police officer had died after sustaining injuries during the riot.
However, U.S. Capitol Police in response said the reports were "not accurate" a few hours before Sicknick died.
During the siege, one officer discharged their weapon, striking a woman who was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. The woman was identified as Ashli Babbitt, of Ocean Beach, Calif.
A man and two women in the area of the Capitol grounds also died Wednesday due to medical emergencies, Capitol Police said.
The D.C. Police Department identified the deceased as Rosanne Boyland, 43, of Kennesaw, Ga.; Benjamin Philips, 50, of Ringtown, Pa., and Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, Ala.
At least 56 officers were injured during the day, D.C. Police Department said Thursday afternoon. Two remained hospitalized.
The police chief said earlier Thursday that of the two officers hospitalized, one was suffered facial injuries from being struck with a projectile and the other sustained serious injuries when they were pulled into a crowd and assaulted.
"Although some officers were injured and hospitalized yesterday, no USCP officers have passed away" the statement said.
The D.C. Police Department said at least 68 people were charged with crimes in the riot that saw supporters of President Donald Trump have free rein on the Senate floor and in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. Fifty of those arrests resided in 18 states with only one person arrested from D.C. and 11 from Maryland and Virginia.
D.C. metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III told reporters during the press conference that of the arrests, 41 occurred on Capitol grounds.
Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., said at a news conference Thursday that more charges were expected in the coming weeks.
"That's a good start, but in no regard is this the end," he said.
Sherwin added that "all charges" are on the table including insurrection and rioting, even suggesting Trump himself may face scrutiny for a rally he held before his supporters breached the Capitol.
"Anyone that had a role, and the evidence fits the elements of a crime, they're going to be charged," he said.
Among those charged Thursday, were Mark Leffingwell, who faces three counts after being accused of attacking an officer at the scene and Christopher Alberts who was charged with one count of carrying or having access to firearms or ammunition on U.S. Capitol grounds.
Capitol Police officer Daniel Amendola said that Leffingwell, 51, punched him "repeatedly with a closed fist" in his police helmet and chest during an attempt to push his way into the building.
Alberts, of Maryland, was seen wearing a bulletproof vest and attempted to flee an officer who identified a bulge on his hip. After he was apprehended, officers found he was in possession of a black Taurus G2C 9mm handgun and a magazine of ammunition.
Police also recovered two pipe bombs, one from the Democratic National Committee headquarters and one from the Republican National Committee headquarters, as well as a cooler in a vehicle on Capitol grounds that contained Molotov cocktails.
Late Thursday, the FBI Washington Field Office released images of a person suspected of being behind the bombs and offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information that leads to their location, arrest and conviction.
U.S. Capitol Police Hazardous Materials Response Team "determined that both devices were, in fact, hazardous and could cause great harm to public safety," Steven Sund, chief of Capitol Police, said in a statement Thursday. "The devices were disabled and turned over to the FBI for further investigation and analysis."
The vehicle bas also been cleared of hazards and its owner was among those arrested for unlawful entry of the Capitol grounds, he said, adding that they are currently reviewing surveillance video to identify further suspects.
Sund has since resigned following calls for him to step down due to the assault on the Capitol.
Bowser called for Congress to create a nonpartisan commission to understand the security failures and to learn why the federal law enforcement response was much stronger at the protesters over the summer.
She also called on the Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate and prosecute anyone who entered the Capitol, referring to those who stormed the building as "domestic terrorists."
"What happened yesterday is textbook terrorism," she said.
"More immediately, we know that the current president must be held accountable for this unprecedented attack on our democracy," she added. "What happened yesterday is what he wanted to happen and we must not underestimate that damage that he can do to our democracy in the next two weeks."
Late Wednesday, Bowser announced a 15-day emergency order extension during a news conference, stating it will run through the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Jan. 20 to ensure peace and security in the city.
The mayor described the siege as "an unprecedented attack" on U.S. democracy incited by Trump.
The D.C. Police Department has released a slew of images from the rally seeking information on those pictured during the unlawful entry of the Capitol.
"Some of them have to be held accountable for the carnage," she said.
Asked if the breach of the Capitol building was the result of police failure, Bowser said there will be time later to assess what happened but right now they are focused on ensuring Congress proceedings, which restarted around 8 p.m., continue and the city is safe.
"We will continue to focus because clearly, we will have more events at the Capitol and we want to make sure every lesson learned from this one is implemented," she said.