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US Capitol riots: Police officer dead, bringing number of confirmed fatalities to five

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Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/John Minchillo
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A US police officer has died due to injuries sustained while on-duty during the riots on Wednesday as a violent mob loyal to outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building, police have confirmed.

This brought the number of reported dead as a result of the unrest to five. One protester was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer inside the building, and three other people died after experiencing medical emergencies, officials said.

Police officer Brian D Sicknick died on Thursday night after being injured while physically engaging with protesters, according to a police statement. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the Capitol Police and federal investigators, they added.

Democratic leaders of the House Appropriations Committee said the “tragic loss” of a Capitol police officer “should remind all of us of the bravery of the law enforcement officers who protected us, our colleagues, Congressional staff, the press corps and other essential workers″ during the hourslong takeover of the Capitol by pro-Trump protesters.

The world was left aghast when footage surfaced of the pro-Trump mob breaking into the Capital building, forcing lawmakers into hiding in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.

DC police said on Thursday that 68 people were arrested, while Capitol police said 14 were arrested, most for unlawful entry.

Police have drawn widespread criticism for allowing the individuals to besiege the building, with Washington’s mayor calling the police response “a failure.”

Many also said that race had played a role in police treatment of the white rioters, once more shining a spotlight on the tensions coursing through the US over racism and policing.

But the head of the US Capitol Police defended his department’s response to the storming, saying that officers “acted valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions.”

Chief Steven Sund, in his first public comment on the mayhem from Wednesday, said in a statement that rioters “actively attacked” Capitol police and other law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants and “took up other weapons against our officers.”

More than 50 Capitol and DC police were injured, including several who were hospitalised, Sund said.

Despite the riots, Congress confirmed Biden as the presidential election winner before dawn on Thursday.

The top two Democrats in Congress are calling on the Cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, and if it doesn't, they are considering impeachment again.