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Brian Sicknick is not the first Capitol Police officer to lie in honor at the US Capitol

Detective John M. Gibson and Officer Jacob J. Chestnut were fatally shot at the Capitol in 1998.

WASHINGTON — Brian Sicknick, the U.S. Capitol Police officer who was killed in the insurrection at the Capitol, will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda next week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday. He is only the fifth American to ever receive the honor, but he is not the first Capitol police officer to lie in honor.

Officer Jacob J. Chestnut, Jr., and Detective John M. Gibson, died in the line of duty on July 24, 1998, when a gunman stormed past a U.S. Capitol security checkpoint. Chestnut was killed immediately and Gibson later died in surgery.

A tourist was also injured in the initial shootout between Capitol police and the gunman.

As other tourists and Congressional aides sought cover, the gunman made his way toward then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay's office, according to the House of Representatives' historical archive. Even though he was wounded, Gibson fired at the attacker, and allowed other officers to subdue the gunman. 

Days later, the House and Senate authorized a concurrent resolution for a memorial service for the officers to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. Chestnut and Gibson were the first Americans to lie in honor in the Rotunda, on July 28, 1998. The officers were buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors. 

The two other Americans to lie in honor at the Capitol were civil rights icon Rosa Parks, in 2005, and Rev. Billy Graham, in 2018.

Lying in honor is reserved for private citizens, while lying in state is for a government official who has died and lying in repose is for former government officials.

Credit: Associated Press
John Gibson and Jacob Chestnut headshots (l-r), Capitol police officers fatally shot at Capitol building

Sicknick, 42, was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the January 6 Capitol riot. He was among five people who died.

"The U.S. Congress is united in grief, gratitude and solemn appreciation for the service and sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick," the two leaders said in a statement. "The heroism of Officer Sicknick and the Capitol Police force during the violent insurrection against our Capitol helped save lives, defend the temple of our democracy and ensure that the Congress was not diverted from our duty to the Constitution. His sacrifice reminds us every day of our obligation to our country and the people we serve."

Credit: US Capitol Police
Officer Brian Sicknick was injured during the Capitol riots. When he returned to his office, he collapsed and later died at the hospital from his injuries.

Two police officers have also died by suicide in the weeks following the attack.

Thousands of Trump supporters surrounded the U.S. Capitol following a rally on the National Mall to protest unfounded claims of election fraud in which the President told the crowd to “fight like hell”, and that if they didn’t they were “not going to have a country anymore.”

The mob forced its way in while a joint session of Congress led by Vice President Mike Pence was being held to certify the electoral college vote, confirming Joe Biden’s presidency. The rioters smashed windows, pushed back police lines and scaled the walls of the Capitol, gaining entry as far as the House and Senate Chambers where the historic vote had been happening just minutes before.

The looters ransacked offices of leaders like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and damaged or stole property throughout the complex.

The building was locked down for more than 4 hours, key members of government were ushered away by armed security to safe locations while other Congressmen and women and their aides barricaded in their offices, fearful for their safety.

More than a dozen people have been charged with federal crimes, but the FBI is still working to identify many other rioters. Anyone with tips can call 1-800- 225-5324 or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/USCapitol.

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