WASHINGTON – Two men have been arrested and charged with assaulting Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the Jan. 6 riot, but they have not been charged with killing him, according to charging documents.
Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, were arrested Sunday. They were each charged with nine counts of assaulting Sicknick, including three counts of assaulting an officer of the United States with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to injure an officer and physical violence on restricted grounds.
Both men had initial court appearances Monday to hear the nature of the charges and the maximum penalties. Each assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Aloi in West Virginia granted the government’s request for temporary detention of Tanios and assigned him public defenders. U.S. Magistrate Leda Wettre in New Jersey granted the government’s request for temporary detention of Khater, who hired lawyer Steven Altman to represent him.
The defendants will be able to argue for bail and release pending trial at future hearings.
Khater is seen on video discharging spray from a black canister into the face of Sicknick and other officers, according to charging documents. “Give me that bear (expletive),” Khater allegedly said to Tanios before reaching into his backpack, according to a video quoted in the charging documents.
Khater is seen in the video holding a canister and waving it from side to side, about 5 to 8 feet away from three officers, including Sicknick, according to the charging document. Each of the officers reacted “to something striking them in the face,” according to the charging document.
An unidentified FBI agent swore in charging documents that Khater and Tanios were “working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes.”
Prosecutors filed charges after tips helped the FBI identify Khater and Tanios from wanted images posted from surveillance video and officer-worn body camera footage, the complaint said.
Khater was arrested as he disembarked from a plane at Newark International Airport in New Jersey, according to the Justice Department. Tanios was arrested at his home, the department said.
Tanios was identified in part by wearing a shirt with a “Sandwich University” logo for his sandwich shop, according to the charging document. He was issued the trademark “King of the Fat Sandwich” in 2016, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
He filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in May 2020 saying he owed $506,750, including $170,809 to the Internal Revenue Service and $234,037 to the state of West Virginia, according to federal court records. The case was discharged in September 2020, according to court records.
About 300 people have been charged in federal court in connection with the violence Jan. 6. The defendants traveled from at least 40 states and ranged in age from 18 to 70, according to a study by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.
Authorities have said Sicknick died in the line of duty the day after the riot. Capitol Police said he collapsed in a district office after engaging with rioters and died the next day in a hospital. Sicknick reported to his supervisors and colleagues that he had been sprayed in the face, according to charging documents.
But the precise cause of Sicknick’s death has not yet been reported. A chemical spray has been suspected.
About 140 officers were injured in the attack, suffering head and back injuries, gouged eyes and severed fingers. Security video played at the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump showed officers beaten, trampled and at least one crushed in a door.
Contributing: Dinah Pulver