Officer who died after storming of US Capitol lies in honour as lawmakers pay tribute

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a congressional tribute to Brian Sicknick, who lies in honour in the Capitol Rotunda. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US lawmakers, the Washington mayor and police officers filed beneath the soaring US Capitol dome on Wednesday (Feb 3) to pay tribute to Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died from injuries sustained during the Jan 6 storming of the seat of government.

Lying in honour is one of the highest tributes Congress can bestow on a civilian.

Sicknick, 42, is only the fifth person and the third Capitol Police officer to receive the honour.

He was among the officers who fought to defend the Capitol when hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump raided the building in a bid to stop Congress' certification of President Joe Biden's election.

"That Brian and his family were made to pay such a high price for his devoted service in the Capitol was a senseless tragedy, one that we are still grappling with," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the congressional tribute for Sicknick.

Schumer noted that two other police officers also died in the weeks after Sicknick's death.

After the remarks by Schumer, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the two congressional chaplains and an a cappella rendition of America The Beautiful, dozens of people streamed in to view a wooden box containing Sicknick's ashes, displayed beside an American flag.

Black draping hung in the Rotunda, a stately room with paintings, statues and busts commemorating important figures and events in US history.

Masked Capitol Police officers and other people sat in chairs set 6 feet (1.83m) apart as a precaution amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

After lying in honour, Sicknick's ashes are being transported to Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be buried.

The Jan 6 riot left scars on the US Capitol, which has been patrolled by thousands of National Guard troops and surrounded by high, barbed-wire-topped fencing since the incident.

The assault on the building also directly led to the second impeachment of Trump, who spoke at a rally before the raid and urged supporters to go to the Capitol and "fight."

His impeachment trial in the Senate is scheduled to start next week.

Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the Capitol to pay their respects to Sicknick late on Tuesday.

Vice-President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff also came.

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