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Capitol riot deaths were not nameless

All reports of the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C. indicate that five people died, but there seems to be a news blackout as to their names and the causes of the deaths. I know about Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, but there’s occasional mention that two more police officers committed suicide after the incident — are they considered part of the five?

— David L., Ashland

Officer Brian Sicknick is the only on-duty police officer named in the five deaths recorded at the U.S. Capitol. The others are Ashli Babbitt of San Diego, California; Kevin D. Greeson of Athens, Alabama; Rosanne Boyland of Kennesaw, Georgia; and Benjamin Philips of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, according to local and national news outlets.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has stated that there is an “ongoing investigation” into the cause of Sicknick’s death, according to media reports.

Police initially stated after the riot that Sicknick died of a head injury involving a fire extinguisher, but the New York Times stated in a Feb. 11 report that medical experts determined that Sicknick did not die of blunt force trauma. Instead, according to the Times report that cited an unnamed law enforcement official, investigators were looking into the possible role of chemical irritants such as mace or bear spray that could have led to disorientation or other physical reactions and subsequent injury.

Reuters reported Jan. 8 that Sicknick suffered a stroke at a nearby hospital following injuries sustained during the attack.

News outlets have revealed more definitive causes of death for Babbit, Greeson, Boyland and Philips.

Babbitt, 35, was shot by Capitol police during the riot.

Greeson, 55, collapsed on Capitol grounds of a heart attack.

Boyland, 35, was trampled to death after losing consciousness in the crush of the mob at the Capitol.

Philips, 50, suffered a stroke on Capitol grounds.

As you mentioned, two other police officers took their lives after the riot. The Washington Post has identified them as 51-year-old Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood and 35-year-old D.C. police officer Jeffrey Smith.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.