Capitol Police officer dies from injuries suffered in riots, federal murder investigation opened

first_imgwellesenterprises/iStockBy JACK DATE, MARK OSBORNE and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. has opened a federal murder investigation into the death of U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died Thursday night after suffering injuries in the violent siege at the Capitol, three law enforcement sources confirmed to ABC News.The investigation is being conducted jointly between the FBI and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, with cooperation from U.S. Capitol Police.Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement, “The Department of Justice will spare no resources in investigating and holding accountable those responsible.”Sicknick responded to Wednesday’s riots and “was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” Capitol Police said in a statement. “He returned to his division office and collapsed.”He was taken to a hospital where he died at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, police said.According to sources familiar with the matter, authorities currently believe that Sicknick’s death was driven by a medical condition. They are also vigorously investigating reports that he was attacked with a fire extinguisher or other item at the Capitol, sources said. So far, those reports of an attack have not been confirmed, and authorities are hoping to locate video or other imagery from the scene that can shed light on what led to Sicknick’s death.Sicknick, a 42-year-old military veteran, had worked for the Capitol Police for 12 years, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said.Sicknick’s death is the fifth connected to Wednesday’s riots, which saw swarms of pro-Donald Trump protesters overwhelm police barricades, surge into the U.S. Capitol and force lawmakers to go into hiding.Sicknick’s brother said in a statement to ABC News, “After a day of fighting for his life, he passed away a hero.”“I would like to thank all of his brothers and sisters in law enforcement for the incredible compassion and support they have shown my family,” he added.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in Sicknick’s honor.“On behalf of the House of Representatives, I send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after defending the Capitol complex and protecting those who serve and work here,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday.“The perpetrators of Officer Sicknick’s death must be brought to justice,” Pelosi said. “The violent and deadly act of insurrection targeting the Capitol, our temple of American Democracy, and its workers was a profound tragedy and stain on our nation’s history. But because of the heroism of our first responders and the determination of the Congress, we were not, and we will never be, diverted from our duty to the Constitution and the American people.”“The sacrifice of Officer Sicknick reminds us of our obligation to those we serve: to protect our country from all threats foreign and domestic,” Pelosi said. “May it be a comfort to Officer Sicknick’s family that so many mourn with and pray for them at this sad time.”Virginia Democratic Rep. Don Beyer is calling for Sicknick to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.“He made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting those trapped in the Capitol amid a violent assault on our democracy itself,” Beyer said in a statement Friday. “Like others before him who died in defense of the people’s representatives, he deserves to lie in state.”Gov. Northam said, “Officer Sicknick was killed while doing his job—defending those trapped in the Capitol building amid a violent attack on our democracy. His death is a tragedy, and those responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”“My prayers and those of the entire Commonwealth go to his family, his loved ones, and his fellow officers who work every day to protect the seat of American democracy from those who would seek to destroy it,” Northam added.The White House’s first comment on Sicknick’s death came Friday morning in a written statement from deputy press secretary Judd Deere.“Anytime a member of law enforcement dies in the line of duty it is a solemn reminder to us all that they run toward danger to maintain peace,” Deere said. “The President and the entire Administration extend our prayers to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick’s family as we all grieve the loss of this American hero.”Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association President Larry Cosume called Sicknick an “American hero.”“Officer Sicknick and his brothers and sisters in the U.S. Capitol Police were the thin blue line protecting not just our elected officials from violent insurrectionists, but the very heart of American democracy,” Cosume said in a statement. “Political violence in this country in any form is deplorable. We support a full and vigorous investigation and prosecution of all involved in carrying out this heinous assault.”Cosume added, “We urge the Justice Department to pursue the maximum penalties for the death of this officer and all of the assaults on law enforcement that occurred on that day for anyone responsible for orchestrating, participating, and carrying out Wednesday’s invasion of the U.S. Capitol.”Other lawmakers reacted overnight to Sicknick’s death, including Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who tweeted: “On behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia, our thoughts & prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. May he Rest In Peace, and we work tirelessly to honor his service to the Congress and our nation.”Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been criticized for his attempt to overturn the 2020 election, wrote on Twitter: “Devastating. Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer the family of the U.S. Capitol Police officer who tragically lost his life keeping us safe. He was a true hero. Yesterday’s terrorist attack was a horrific assault on our democracy. Every terrorist needs to be fully prosecuted.”Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted: “I am truly devastated to learn that a Capitol Police officer has died as a result of yesterday’s violence at the Capitol. My heart goes out to the officer, their family, and all of our front line law enforcement that put their lives on the line each day to protect this nation.”Rep. Tim Ryan, R-Ohio, said his heart is broken over the loss and added that Sicknick’s death should serve as a “reminder of the bravery of the law enforcement who protect us every day.”Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, wrote: “I am devastated to hear about the passing of U.S. @CapitolPolice Officer Brian Sicknick and extend my deepest sympathy to his family. My staff and I cannot say enough to express our appreciation for his sacrifice to keep us safe.”Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., tweeted: “Devastating news. Please join me in praying for our fallen Capitol Police officer’s family during this heartbreaking time.”Four others died in the siege. Three people died of medical emergencies, while a 35-year-old woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by Capitol Police while trying to enter a broken window into the House Chamber.Law enforcement said more than 50 Capitol Police and Metropolitan police officers suffered injuries in the rioting and “several USCP officers have been hospitalized with serious injuries.”“These individuals actively attacked United States Capitol Police Officers and other uniformed law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers,” Capitol Police said.Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned on Thursday afternoon in the wake of the riots. Several prominent people had called for him to step down, including Pelosi and the head of the police union.Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement Thursday that officers were “frustrated and demoralized by the lack of leadership.”“This never should have happened,” Papathanasiou said.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Linville Gorge: A Sparkle of Rekindled Joy

first_imgReluctantly we returned to our tent which sparkled with mini LED lights strung across in a criss-crossed pattern across the interior. It truly felt magical, otherworldly in a sense. Isolated from the world we drifted off listening to the faint roar of the Linville River gliding along its course beneath a star-studded sky with the distant haunting echo of a lone train whistle punctuating the silence as it rumbled along to Tennessee through the NC mountains. Our final morning arrived. After a pancake breakfast, we disassembled our tent, loaded up our backpacks, and hauled everything down the mountain to our car. On our last trip down the mountain we paused to deviate from the trail eager to discover a nearby spring that Dad and his friends frequented to retrieve fresh water years ago. We were not disappointed as the gurgling water sprang forth from the earth, rippling across green moss and disappearing underneath smooth slick rock. We took a few photographs and then left, but not before pausing to photograph ourselves leaning against a massive boulder. The boulder was shrouded in a cloak of underbrush, lying in the shade of towering hardwoods. It stood there reserved, erect, and forlorn as if waiting for some lone hiker to rediscover it. In fact, three decades ago four young hikers perched upon it and gazed expectantly into the Canon camera that captured this moment that harkened to happy times that would forever be treasured both in memory and in heart. “This is what I remember” Dad said softly. “It’s the closest you can get to God – a place where you can talk about all your hopes, fears, and dreams,” Dad said. Thirty years changes many things. We grow older, families grow up, our priorities and responsibilities change. Even the landscape of childhood retreats we once remembered eventually become subject to the effects of time. Places appear vaguely familiar as the blending of the past and present combine to form a new creation. In the midst of all of the change, it is remarkable that certain qualities remain untouched by the passage of time: sunsets, intimate conversation, father-daughter moments sprinkled with laughter and good-natured humor, whispers of hopes, dreams and fears spoken in hushed tones as one admired the serene natural beauty of one’s quiet abode. These were the treasured moments that would be recalled three decades later. The “do you remember when” queries would only be just the beginning of a lifetime of fond reminiscing. The next morning was brisk, an icy remnant of the below freezing temperatures we experienced during the night. Fortunately, our insulated sleeping bags, combined with toasty hand warmers, warded off the chill, and we were no worse for the wear. After a warm breakfast of scrambled eggs and sizzling bacon we laced up our hiking boots and trudged up the trail to Table Rock, the Chimneys, and then crossed sharp rocky ledges seeking the elusive “amphitheater.” The name was given as a result of the land’s bowl-shaped terrain and was a frequent site of excursion by adventurous hikers. I suppose 30 years changes things a bit as we never discovered the site despite embarking on detours and meanderings from the main trail that led to nothing more than dense underbrush and precarious cliffs. Exhausted as we were, we remained in good spirits and settled down on a large slab of rock and hungrily munched on granola bars and gulped water from plastic water bottles stowed in our travel backpack. Looking across the distance, we spotted rock climbers only a short distance from us hauling equipment, gear, and colorful looped bundles of climbing rope. A thin slack line stretched between two boulders bobbed in the wind as a climber ever so slightly shifted his weight from the steady surface onto the swaying strip of nylon. Pure daredevils. Transfixed as we were of the spectacle we deemed it best to return to the trail, uneasily aware that any slight mishap could quickly result in grave injury or instant death. Now on this day, one of these hikers returned, but with someone new. Dad had brought his red flannel shirt, the same one he had worn in that original photograph. I put it on, posing near where he had once stood. We smiled into the camera, but we also smiled beyond that. We smiled at the memories we had made. We smiled at what had been, what was to be, and what was to become. We smiled at our hopes, fears, and dreams. We smiled at the place we had been closest to God. Afternoon faded into dusk. Taking advantage of the remaining light, Dad cooked a hearty dinner on the stove: fresh sizzling catfish fillets served with steaming rice and corn. As food is nourishment for the body so was nature the food for the soul. With hungry appetites satisfied we steeled ourselves away to the cliff only mere steps from our tent and planted our folding chairs on the rocky terrain that was only feet from a precarious thousand-foot descent to the valley below. The sun slipped behind the peaks of the mountain range, casting golden beams of light across the sky and enveloping the surrounding landscape in a sleepy haze of shadow. As we sat in silence while the wind murmured around us there was no question that we were spectators of nature’s brilliant showcase, and we had the best seats in town. The fall leaves of October were barely visible in the leaves of the hardwoods. Only a faint hue of golden brown and burnt auburn hinted at autumn’s arrival. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that the journey is the destination, and I believe this succinctly described our trip down the dusty off-beaten road riddled with potholes headed for our destination. Ginger Cake was certainly what seemed like an off-beaten road that weaved its way across rocky terrain towards the Table Rock picnic area on the east side of Linville Gorge. We carefully inched our way around bright orange road hazard signs placed beside freshly fallen trees and rocky eroded areas alarmingly close to the outer edge of the steep drop off that descended into a dense forest of trees. Every pothole sent our SUV into a series of unsettling jolts as we swayed back and forth, carefully maneuvering our way around the sharp curves while we breathed in crisp mountain air wisping through rolled down windows. Our camping equipment consisted of a large 4-person tent, a cot, sleeping bags, a folding cooking table, tarps, 2 backpacks, water bottles, a cooler, a stove, a lantern, hand warmers, and LED lights among extra emergency provisions. To say we brought too much would be an understatement. Half of our supplies were never used and instead remained in the car, but Dad, who is always prepared for the worst and knows the ins and outs of outdoor survival, assured me that we were prepared, and I had no reason not to believe otherwise. center_img That faraway gaze sprinkled with a sparkle of rekindled joy in his eyes was becoming more familiar these days as he reflected and reminisced of past memories – memories of a simpler time when laughter, friendship, and comradery was never in short supply, especially when in the presence of those whom did life together – a family in a sense. That family consisted of Dad and his close friends whom he would take to his favorite camping spot – Linville Gorge. We eventually reached our campsite and took advantage of the remaining daylight to fix shrimp and grits on the stove. Any low country restaurant would have undoubtedly charged a premium for the pink jumbo shrimp swimming in a sea of creamy cheese gritty goodness simmering on the stove. Who said one had to sacrifice Southern cooking for rugged living? We had taken camping to a whole new level. Life is a challenge and journey of its own, and sometimes a brief respite for the soul is the best medicine to assuage the burdens and cares of life and breathe in the fullness and vitality inherent in nature. Linville Gorge was a place of special memories that spanned over three decades, and now those memories were beginning to resurface in Dad’s own mind as he recognized the familiar gentle nudge to return to where those memories were born. As he gazed at old pictures of him and his friends perched on a large slab of granite rock or sitting in a circle huddled around a toasty fire bundled in hoodies and smudged hiking boots, the fond sentimental memories returned, evoking the sense of nostalgia that was heightened by tangible reminders of old photographs, capturing the timeless sense of carefree spirits spent with lifelong friends. Nature has a peculiar way of realigning our priorities, allowing us to appreciate the small moments made special by the company of those dearest to us and gently reminding us to slow down and instead relish the present moment. What better way to reflect on my own life and unknown future as a soon-to-be college graduate than in a safe haven like Linville Gorge – a rugged refuge where one could silently marvel at the beauty of the stark landscape carved with the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains punctuating the outline of the horizon, silent spectators of the roaring Linville River winding its serpentine path through the canyon over a thousand feet below. Here was an oasis where I could lazily watch the sun slip past the mountains at dusk as brilliant rays of sunshine mixed with golden clouds created an ethereal masterpiece of unmatched beauty. Yes – I think I could contemplate life and all its mysteries here. The mountains were calling and I must go. I would only be made better all the more by doing so. I will spare detailing our ascent to our campsite which was approximately a quarter of a mile from the parking lot. However, I don’t deny that we were the subject of humorous conversation as hikers curiously glanced at our bulging backpacks and perspiring brows, knowing full well what we were reluctant to admit: we had simply brought too much stuff. After multiple trips to and from our car and campsite with the last trip seemingly longer than the first, we were finally settled. What was once a secluded nook tucked secretly away in a nest of pine trees was now a semi-exposed area surrounded by hardwoods. To our left rose the bald outcropping of Table Rock towering above the mountains, the distant echo of hikers and rock climbers audible a quarter of a mile away. Directly behind our tent lay the gem of Linville Gorge. A small narrow path delicately weaved past rhododendron, mountain laurel, and isolated pine shrubs growing in shallow crevices. The path gradually widened, revealing an expansive view of the Blue Ridge Mountains blanketed in a sea of faint gold and auburn tinged trees nestled below a cloudless blue sky. In the days to come, many hikers would accidently arrive at our campsite after mistakenly assuming the path to our secret oasis led to Table Rock. We became accustomed to the bewildered looks of hikers stumbling upon what appeared a dead end, but we easily persuaded them to gaze upon one of the finest views of Linville Gorge. No one left disappointed. Dusk slowly enveloped the mountains in a dim purple blue haze and we lazily drank in the cool night air and sipped hot chocolate made milky white by melted marshmallows. Anyone who has ever hiked a full day knows the feeling of a good kind of tired. The achy muscles are not immediately felt until the following day and only the feeling of pure bliss made palpable in the company of others remains. We sat in silence reflecting on our adventures, internally knowing but hesitant to admit that tomorrow would find us entering reality. Like everything in life, all good things must come to an end. If only we could linger here indefinitely, savoring every moment, breathing in the seductive magic of captivating rugged beauty. last_img read more

Man Dies After Trying to Rush Past Security Checkpoint at FLL Airport

first_imgA homeless man who apparently tried to bypass security checkpoints at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport ended up scuffling with deputies and later died at a hospital, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.The incident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. Thursday near the Jet Blue area in Terminal 3, officials say.Sgt. Donald Prichard stated, “The suspect had an unknown medical event and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.”Two deputies also sustained minor injuries during the security encounter at the airport.The man’s name has not been released, pending notification of his family.Prichard says the investigation is ongoing.last_img

Senior Men’s Amateur: Kellock victorious with back-nine flourish

first_img8 Aug 2020 Senior Men’s Amateur: Kellock victorious with back-nine flourish Rupert Kellock held his nerve and holed the crucial putts to march to victory in the English Senior Men’s Amateur Championship.As befitted a former army officer, Kellock played with military precision on the back nine at Woodhall Spa Golf Club to earn a deserved three shot victory over defending champion Ian Attoe, fellow international Trevor Foster and Maxstoke Park’s Stephen Creed.His finishing total was two-over par after previous rounds of 70 (Hotchkin) and 76 (Bracken).The ex-Royal Green Jacket began the final round a shot adrift of three-time winner Attoe and Andrew Smith from Royal Ashdown Forest.However, a one-over par round of 74 around a baked and windswept Hotchkin Course  allowed Kellock to claim a career highlight.Kellock – a member at Sunningdale Golf Club – won with a flourish. Birdies at 12, 16 and 18 allowed him to add his own national title to the Welsh title he won in 2018.After the victory, Kellock admitted: “It’s terribly pleasing and I’m dead chuffed as they would say.“It’s always great to win anything and to win the national title is fantastic. It’s the largest national title I’ve won and to have beaten Ian Attoe (below) who has dominated this event for five years makes me very proud.“I hit the ball a lot better than I scored and was quite comfortable as I was hitting the ball so well. The problem was I wasn’t quite sure what the other scores were.“Anyway, you play one shot at a time and get on with it and the fact was I was hitting the ball really well makes life so much easier – middle of the fairway, middle of the green, two putts and walk on.”On a day when the wind dominated proceedings and made the front nine particularly treacherous for the leading players, pars were treated like birdies.Kellock started with three of them, but four dropped shots between the fourth and the tenth holes were a setback.The nerves were steadied however, with a brilliant iron into the short 12th hole. The ball danced around the hole and finished a foot from the cup.After that tap-in birdie, Kellock found himself tied for the lead with Accrington’s Foster who had started the day three shots behind the leaders.Foster had dropped only one shot to par at the turn and a birdie at 13 actually put him a shot clear of Kellock again (pictured below).But then came Kellock’s nerveless finish capped by a six-foot putt on 18 which caught the right lip of the hole and tumbled for a closing birdie.Attoe couldn’t quite produce the form of the first two days in order to claim a third title on the spin.The 61-year-old had been struggling with the putter all week and he couldn’t find the touch on the greens when he needed it most.Kellock’s closing stretch of holes left him thrilled and in particular the iron play which left him with excellent opportunities for birdies when others were simply grateful for par.On making birdie at two of the final three holes, Kellock said: “It’s very satisfying as I’d three putted from 20 feet on 14 for a par which was disappointing.“On 16 I put it to 18 inches and on 18 I had a two-putt birdie. It was a very, very nice way to finish.“It sounds very good to be introduced as a champion and I’d like to be English national champion again next year as well.”Next year’s championship will be held at Blackmoor Golf Club and Army Golf Club in Hampshire.Details, scores and interviews relating to the 2020 English Senior Men’s Amateur Championship can be found on the homepage.Photography: Leaderboardlast_img read more