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Police officer who died after Capitol riot always wanted to be an officer

Brian Sicknick, 42, served in the New Jersey Air National Guard before joining the Capitol Police in 2008.

The U.S. Capitol Police officer who died from injuries sustained in the riot Wednesday wanted to be a police officer his entire life, his family said.

Brian Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police in 2008, was injured "while physically engaging with protesters" Wednesday and returned to his division office, where he collapsed, Capitol Police said in a statement. He was taken to a hospital, where he died about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. He was 42.

He is the fifth person to die in the violent protests.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.Courtesy Sicknick family

The New York Times and The Associated Press, citing two law enforcement officials, reported that Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the melee at the Capitol.

His death will be investigated by Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington and federal agencies, the Capitol Police statement said.

Sicknick was born in South River, New Jersey, and was the youngest of four boys, his family said in a statement Friday.

His family said he always wanted to be a police officer and "joined the New Jersey Air National Guard as a means to that end."

Lt. Col. Barbara Brown, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey National Guard, said Sicknick enlisted in 1997. Sicknick deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1999 and to Kyrgyzstan in 2003, Brown said.

He was honorably discharged in 2003.

The family declined a request for an interview Friday and referred NBC News to their statement.

"Many details regarding Wednesday's events and the direct causes of Brian's injuries remain unknown, and our family asks the public and the press to respect our wishes in not making Brian's passing a political issue," the family said. "Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember."

President Donald Trump urged protesters at a rally near the White House on Wednesday to head to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers were scheduled to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's presidential victory.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who is the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, which opened a review into the law enforcement response to the Capitol riot, expressed sorrow in a Twitter post, saying her "heart breaks" over Sicknick's "senseless death."

"To honor his memory, we must ensure that the mob who attacked the People's House and those who instigated them are held accountable," she said.

Erica Koutsoupias said she grew up with Sicknick and he was "such a sweet soul."

They attended the same elementary and middle schools in South River, where she still lives.

"Brian was a quiet, funny and respectful young man," Koutsoupias said in an interview Friday. "I have memories of him coming over and we would walk around town or hike around the woods behind my house."

A few years ago, she said, Sicknick reached out to her and they spoke for hours on the phone.

"I am absolutely saddened by what has occurred," she said. "Brian will always be a hero in my eyes."

Mosheh Gains and Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.