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Rioters used 'bear spray' to blind police officers during Capitol Insurrection

Reports: Investigators determining if "bear spray" contributed to death of Officer Brian Sicknick.

WASHINGTON — Chilling new videos of the Capitol riot released at former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are giving the public a more graphic picture of what police faced while being attacked by a violent mob January 6th.

The never-before-seen images show rioters shooting officers with “bear spray” – a toxic pesticide designed to help hikers fight off bears.

The newly released videos of the insurrection confirmed what DC Police Officer Christina Laurie told WUSA9 in January.

“By the time I got there, you know, officers were already getting sprayed with whatever these individuals had, which, you know, I believe they had bear mace which is literally used for bears,” she said in an interview. “I mean, I got hit with it a plenty of times that day and it just seals your eyes shut. And you just would see officers going down trying to douse themselves with water trying to open their eyes up so they can see again, and at the same point, these people are still trying to push and gain access to the Capitol.

Court documents say Jon Ryan Schafer of Columbus, Indiana was among the rioters who sprayed United States Capitol Police officers with “bear spray.” So why did accused rioters allegedly come armed to the Capitol with the powerful toxic pesticide?

Credit: Department of Justice
Alleged Capitol rioter Jon Ryan Schaffer is accused in court documents of spraying US Capitol Police Officers with "bear spray"

“It seems like the planning was very covert and under the radar in a lot of instances,” said Dr. Kelly Johnson- Arbor, medical director at The National Capitol Poison Center.

Johnson said you don’t have to register bear spray as a weapon like you’re required to with pepper spray or mace in some states.

“And so if somebody was trying to stay anonymous, and under the radar, they might not want to purchase pepper spray, if they lived in a state where they had to register it or if it was illegal to ship it or to possess it in certain quantities,” Johnson said, adding bear spray often comes packaged in much larger canisters, so it won’t run out as quickly when it’s being used.

CNN is reporting investigators now want to know if bear spray may have played a role in the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and whether Sicknick had some sort of fatal reaction after being sprayed with it. 

It’s been 35 days since he passed away still no arrests made and no cause of death released. Initial reports he died from injuries suffered from being hit with a fire extinguisher have never been confirmed.

RELATED: 1 month later: Who killed Officer Brian Sicknick?

A spokesperson for the D.C. Chief Medical Examiner's Office told us the national standard to determine the cause of death is within 90 days.

But, for cases that are more complex it could be longer.

“OCME medical examiners comply with the National Association of Medical Examiners’ (NAME) standard to determine the cause and manner of death within 90 days;” wrote DCME spokesperson Cheryle E. Adams. “However, for cases that are more complex it could be longer. Therefore, when this information is available and the decedent’s next of kin has been notified, I will provide you with the cause and manner of death.”

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