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Two men charged with assault in attack on Capitol Police officer who died later

Officer Brian Sicknick died a day after he was attacked with what appeared to be a spray irritant at the violent Jan. 6 uprising.

Two people were arrested and charged in connection with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, but federal authorities stopped short of charging them with his death, according to court documents.

Image: U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick
U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick in an undated photo.Capitol Police via Reuters

The men, Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39 of West Virginia, were arrested Sunday and accused of using spray during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, officials said.

Sicknick died a day after the riots. Authorities suspect that he may have inhaled a spray-type irritant, such as bear spray, during the riot.

Khater and Tanios have been charged with assault, not with killing Sicknick.

The FBI has video of Khater and Tanios "working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes," FBI Special Agent Riley Palmertree wrote in a search warrant application.

There is also video of Khater reaching into Tanois' backpack while saying "Give me that bear sh-t," and Khater is later "seen holding a white can with a black top that appears to be a can of chemical spray," the application said.

"Many of the federal police officers were injured and several were admitted to the hospital," Palmertree wrote of the mayhem. "The subjects also confronted and terrorized members of Congress, Congressional staff, and the media. The subjects carried weapons including tire irons, sledgehammers, bear spray, and tasers."

Palmertree wrote that a body camera of one officer captured Khater "holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it in the officers' direction while moving his right arm from side to side."

Three officers, including Sicknick, appeared to be hit with the chemical.

"The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes," Palmertree wrote. "The officers were temporarily blinded by the substance, were temporarily disabled from performing their duties and needed medical attention and assistance from fellow officers."

Khater and Tanios are longtime friends, having grown up together in New Jersey, according to the court document. Tanios owns and operates the Sandwich University restaurant in Morgantown.

Both men made initial court appearances Monday and were ordered to remain in custody. Lawyers for both did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On his LinkedIn page, Khater described himself as a "results-oriented manager" who has "exceptional decision making and analytical skills."

The Yelp page for Tanios' restaurant was flooded with scathing reviews Monday responding to the news of his arrest.