The FBI is focusing on one man as a possible suspect in Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick’s death, a U.S. official told CBS News. The official said the unidentified assailant was using bear spray against multiple people during the January 6 assault.
The official said the FBI is not close to identifying the man, though it is a top priority for investigators. The New York Times was first to report the new focus on the potential suspect.
According to the Bear Smart Society, a person contaminated with bear spray “will experience the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and lungs to swell and be irritated” and “the eyes will involuntarily close and tear, the nose will run profusely coughing will result.” It may take up to 15-20 minutes for symptoms to relieve.
The specific circumstances of Sicknick’s death remain unknown. A day after the riot, Capitol police said Sicknick was injured while “physically engaging with protesters,” adding that the 42-year-old “returned to his division office and collapsed” before he was taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.
Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police in 2008 after serving in the New Jersey Air National Guard, laid in honor at the Capitol Rotunda weeks after the assault. His remains will be buried at Arlington Cemetery.
Though the FBI has not yet identified any suspects in Sicknick’s death, more than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot. The FBI has said it has issued more than 500 grand jury subpoenas and search warrants, and received more than 200,000 digital media tips from those hoping to help authorities identify the rioters.