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US Charges 2 Suspects in Chemical Attack on Capitol Officer Who Later Died

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday charged two suspects who allegedly worked together to spray a chemical irritant on three Capitol Police officers on January 6, one of whom later died.

Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios are facing multiple counts, including assaulting police with a deadly weapon, after investigators said they sprayed at least three officers with an unidentified but powerful chemical agent.

One of those officers, Brian Sicknick, was later rushed to a hospital and died the next day.

Khater and Tanios are not charged with killing Sicknick.

According to the complaint, the FBI said the two men "appeared to time the deployment of chemical substances to coincide with other rioters' efforts to forcibly remove the bike rack barriers that were preventing the rioters from moving closer to the Capitol building."

Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, was arrested as he disembarked from an airplane at Newark Airport in New Jersey. Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, was arrested at his residence in West Virginia. Both are scheduled to make initial appearances in court later this afternoon.

In video footage, investigators say Khater walked toward Tanios and said, "Give me that bear s---" and reached into a backpack Tanios was carrying. Tanios then replied, "Hold on, hold on. Not yet, not yet. … It's still early."

The complaint said the officers were temporarily blinded and disabled by the substance and "needed medical attention and assistance from fellow officers."

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with riots at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters who were hoping to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's election victory.

Five people, including Sicknick, died in connection with the deadly attack, and lawmakers hid in fear for their lives.

In court filings last week, the Justice Department revealed it intends to file charges against more than 100 additional defendants in what it described as the most complex investigation it has ever handled.