Joe Biden and First Lady Jill pay respects as hero Capitol riot cop Brian Sisnick's body lies in state in Rotunda

JOE Biden has paid tribute to slain US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed while responding to the riots in Washington DC less than four weeks ago.

The President arrived late Tuesday night at the US Capitol, where the fallen officer's remains are lying in honor in the building's famous Rotunda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday that Sicknick – who died during the insurrection – would lie in honor under the historic dome.

Biden spoke with members of Mr. Sicknick’s family in the days after he was killed, according to White House officials, but his visit to the Capitol was not announced until the president’s motorcade departed the White House, according to the New York Times.

Jill Biden, the first lady, joined him.

The ceremonial arrival began at 9.30 pm ET on Tuesday at the East Front of the Capitol, and was followed by a viewing period for members of the US Capitol Police, which is expected to continue overnight, CNN reports.

Lying in state is typically reserved for leaders of American government, but two US Capitol Police officers shot to death in 1998 were the first private citizens to lie in honor at the Capitol, according to the outlet.

The memorial was not open to the public, but police officers and lawmakers have been given the opportunity to pay their respects before Sicknick's remains are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Sicknick's family released a statement on Saturday thanking "congressional leadership for bestowing this historic honor on our fallen American hero".

"We also wish to express our appreciation to the millions of people who have offered their support and sympathies during this difficult time. Knowing our personal tragedy and loss is shared by our nation brings hope for healing," the statement said.

Sicknick, a 42-year-old New Jersey native who had served in the National Guard, died the day after the riot "due to injuries sustained while on-duty," the Capitol Police said in a statement at the time.

He was one of five people who died in the siege.

Sicknick was injured in a clash with MAGA rioters who stormed the Capitol building in response to lawmakers certifying the victory of President-elect Joe Biden on January 6.

He was reportedly struck in the head with a fire extinguisher while struggling with the rioters who swarmed through the halls of Congress. 

He returned to his division office and later collapsed.

Sicknick was then taken to a nearby hospital where he was placed on life support, according to Capitol Police union chairman Gus Papathanasiou.

He died of his injures around 9.30pm on Thursday, January 7, the US Capitol Police confirmed.

Following his death, prosecutors in Washington opened a federal murder investigation.

Meanwhile, reports claimed he may have been killed by a "chemical agent" after he was hit with the fire extinguisher during the MAGA riot at the Capitol.

As well as invading the House and Senate chambers, which drove members of Congress into hiding, Trump supporters attacked police "with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers," US Capitol Police said.

Authorities have reviewed video and photographs that show Sicknick engaging with rioters amid the siege but have yet to identify a moment in which he suffered his fatal injuries, law enforcement officials familiar with the matter said, according to reports.

To date, little information has been shared publicly about the circumstances of the death of the 13-year veteran of the police force, including any findings from an autopsy that was conducted by DC's medical examiner.

In a statement shared by the US Capitol Police following his death, Sicknick's family remembered him as a "lovely, humble soul".

They praised his dedication to his job at the Capitol, and described how the heartbreaking loss "will leave a large hole" in their hearts.

"He was sweet natured through and through. Everyone who met him adored him," the Sicknick family said.

"He loved his job with the US Capitol Police, and was very passionate about it. He also had an incredible work ethic. He was very serious about showing up to work on time and refused to call out sick unless absolutely necessary."

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