'Brian did his job': Family, NJ community remember fallen Capitol officer

From his early days growing up in New Jersey, Brian Sicknick wanted to be a police officer.

News 12 Staff

Jan 9, 2021, 4:24 PM

Updated 1,224 days ago

Share:

'Brian did his job': Family, NJ community remember fallen Capitol officer
From his early days growing up in New Jersey, Brian Sicknick wanted to be a police officer.
He enlisted in the National Guard six months after graduating high school in 1997, deploying to Saudi Arabia and then Kyrgyzstan. Joining the Guard was his means to joining law enforcement, his family said.
He would join the U.S. Capitol Police in 2008, serving until his death Thursday after being attacked as rioters seething over President Donald Trump’s election loss stormed the U.S. Capitol, believing the president’s false claims of a rigged election.
“His brother told me, ‘Brian did his job,’” said John Krenzel, the mayor of Sicknick’s hometown of South River, New Jersey.
Sicknick’s death has shaken America as it grapples with how an armed mob could storm the halls of the U.S. Capitol as the presidential election results were being certified, sending hundreds of lawmakers, staff and journalists fleeing for safety. Videos published online show vastly outnumbered Capitol Police officers trying in vain to stop surging rioters, though other videos show officers not moving to stop rioters in the building.
Police leadership badly miscalculated the threat despite weeks of signals that Wednesday could get violent. And they refused Pentagon help three days before the riot, and again as the mob descended. Under withering criticism, the police chief resigned as have the chief security officers for both the U.S. House and Senate.
The Capitol Police said in a statement that Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters.” During the struggle, Sicknick, 42, was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement officials said. The officials could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Sicknick was the youngest of three boys growing up in South River, a small borough of about 16,000 people in central New Jersey, 20 miles from Staten Island. He graduated from the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School in East Brunswick, New Jersey, in June 1997.
Superintendent Dianne Veilleux said school records show Sicknick wanted to be in law enforcement. The school will honor him by planting an oak tree on campus to symbolize his strength.
He enlisted in the New Jersey Air National Guard that December, still a teenager, first deploying to Saudi Arabia in 1999. In 2003, he deployed to Kyrgyzstan, where the U.S. military operated a transit base supporting the war in Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in December of that year.
After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Sicknick became a vocal critic of the war, writing several letters to the editor of the local newspaper that sharply criticized former President George W. Bush for his management of the effort. In one July 2003 letter, published five months before his formal discharge, he said that “our troops are stretched very thin, and morale is dangerously low among them.”
In a statement issued Friday, Sicknick’s family said he “wanted to be a police officer his entire life” and had joined the Guard “as a means to that end.”
A biography issued by his family says Sicknick cared for rescued Dachshunds in his spare time and rooted for the New Jersey Devils hockey team. He is survived by his parents, Charles and Gladys Sicknick, his brothers Ken and Craig, and his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Garza.
The family asked the public to respect its wishes “in not making Brian’s passing a political issue.”
“Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember,” the family said


More from News 12
1:25
Greenpoint residents continue to rally for safer streets

Greenpoint residents continue to rally for safer streets

1:35
Possible showers Saturday before a mild sunny Sunday

Possible showers Saturday before a mild sunny Sunday

2:11
Parents, students rally for safety at Parkside Preparatory Academy

Parents, students rally for safety at Parkside Preparatory Academy

1:05
Police: 2 boys assaulted in Bed-Stuy incident; hate crime probe underway

Police: 2 boys assaulted in Bed-Stuy incident; hate crime probe underway

1:55
Brooklyn business building unique campervans

Brooklyn business building unique campervans

1:50
Behind-the-scenes look at new aquarium sculpture exhibit made entirely of marine debris

Behind-the-scenes look at new aquarium sculpture exhibit made entirely of marine debris

0:24
NYPD arrests 19-year-old in fatal shooting incident of 16-year-old

NYPD arrests 19-year-old in fatal shooting incident of 16-year-old

0:30
Police: 2 men sought in string of violent e-bike robberies across Brooklyn

Police: 2 men sought in string of violent e-bike robberies across Brooklyn

1:17
Runners are lacing up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon! Here’s all you need to know about traffic and transit in the area

Runners are lacing up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon! Here’s all you need to know about traffic and transit in the area

0:29
Gov. Hochul: ‘Safe Housing Support Initiative’ helped more than 450 people in New York City

Gov. Hochul: ‘Safe Housing Support Initiative’ helped more than 450 people in New York City

1:36
The Real Deal: How to navigate the buying, renting market in New York

The Real Deal: How to navigate the buying, renting market in New York

Your New York City Graduation Photos

Your New York City Graduation Photos

1:59
Crown Heights woman says she is living with exposed asbestos in NYCHA apartment

Crown Heights woman says she is living with exposed asbestos in NYCHA apartment

0:51
NYPD: 20-year-old shot in East New York Thursday afternoon

NYPD: 20-year-old shot in East New York Thursday afternoon

2:00
Brooklyn man has homicide conviction vacated due to mistaken identity

Brooklyn man has homicide conviction vacated due to mistaken identity

1:13
Sweet treat: Brooklyn Heights Häagen-Dazs reopens with new decor & eco-friendly alternatives

Sweet treat: Brooklyn Heights Häagen-Dazs reopens with new decor & eco-friendly alternatives

0:58
Mayor Adams announces pilot program to fight against retail theft in NYC

Mayor Adams announces pilot program to fight against retail theft in NYC

1:49
Lithium-ion batteries fire prevention bill for Brooklyn goes to Senate for final vote

Lithium-ion batteries fire prevention bill for Brooklyn goes to Senate for final vote

1:44
Coast Guard 'Military Spouse of The Year' shares story on finding community between every move

Coast Guard 'Military Spouse of The Year' shares story on finding community between every move

1:59
Basketball program in Flatbush helping keep young athletes active

Basketball program in Flatbush helping keep young athletes active