Brian Sicknick death: Who are George Tanios and Julian Khater? Arrested men sprayed bear mace on late Capitol cop
Who assaulted police officer Brian Sicknick during the Capitol riots? That question has been on many minds for months. Two people have now been arrested in the case — and have been identified as 39-year-old George Pierre Tanios and 32-year-old Julian Elie Khater — residents of West Virginia and Pennsylvania respectively.
According to the arrest affidavit, the accused duo sprayed chemical bear mace on the Capitol police officer as well as two other cops. Sicknick died the following day from a yet-unknown cause and investigation is ongoing to ascertain whether the bear repellant spray contributed to his death.
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The rioters were identified by the FBI with the help of tipsters, through surveillance videos and footage from bodycams worn by officers. In one of the videos, around 2:14 pm on the day of the Capitol insurrection, Khater can be spotted saying to Tanios, "Give me that bear s**t." Both were standing in proximity to Sicknick and other police officers, to which Tanios responded, "Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet… it's still early.”
Around nine minutes later, Khater complains that he had been hit with the bear mace, following which he is seen discharging the canister on the faces of Sicknick and two other officers. Both the accused, who have been charged with nine felony counts, grew up together in New Jersey but were settled in West Virginia and Pennsylvania now. Khater was arrested from Newark, New Jersey. Here's all you need to know about their past.
Who is George Pierre Tanios?
George Pierre Tanios is the 39-year-old owner of the restaurant chain 'Sandwich University' in Morgantown. He was initially a New Jersey native and owned franchises like All You Need, SandwichU, and 4th & Goal, as stated in a 2012 blog by WVUDowntown.
Tanios had a family background in managing restaurants with his parents being restaurant owners in New Jersey.
His prime success stemmed from SandwichU — ranked among the top four College Eateries in America by ABC's 'Good Morning America' — and also featured on BuzzFeed. The key appeal of the 'over-the-top' sandwiches at the restaurant was their wide variety of fried foods added with seasonings and sauces inside the sandwich buns.
However, it appears that even as a successful business-owner, pre-dating his involvement in the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021, Tanios showed signs of "racism" and bullying while addressing customer feedback on Google reviews. In addition, in 2019, he reportedly did not pay a group of college students who worked there. When the youngsters demanded their payout publicly, Tanios deactivated the SandwichU Twitter account and started blocking people.
"Just your daily reminder to never support, endorse, or buy from this terrible business, Sandwich U, and its owner, George Tanios," tweeted one user in May 2019. An attached screenshot shows how he rudely responded to the workers.
Just your daily reminder to never support, endorse, or buy from this terrible business, Sandwich U, and its owner, George Tanios. pic.twitter.com/GkZZBDFwcC— j dizzy (@dolinpls) May 5, 2019
From calling customers 'White Trash', 'Karen', 'snowflake' and wishing 'diarrhea upon your mother', Tanios was infamous for his tirades on Google reviews as well as for brandishing his support for Trump at his eatery.
Read some reviews here:
Despite his seemingly terrible business professionalism, Tanios was identified thanks to his love for his brand. Did you know he was wearing a SandwichU sweatshirt that day? The T-shirt worn by Tanios, along with a red MAGA cap on the day of the riots, helped investigators identify him.
Catch a snapshot from the Capitol riots here:
Who is Julian Elie Khater?
Tanios's co-accused, Julian Elie Khater, is a 32-year-old resident of State College, Pennsylvania. According to reports, he has worked as a General Manager and co-owner of Frutta Bowls till May 2020.
Dishing out more details about his life, CBS reporter Peyton Kennedy tweeted: "Julian Khater, one of the men arrested, is the former owner of Frutta Bowls in Downtown State College. Tune in to @WTAJnews tonight for details on his charges."
Julian Khater, one of the men arrested, is the former owner of Frutta Bowls in Downtown State College.— Peyton Kennedy (@peytonTVkennedy) March 15, 2021
Tune in to @WTAJnews tonight for details on his charges. https://t.co/A8UhkxrOAU
A LinkedIn profile — believed to be Khater's — shows him to be hailing from Somerset, New Jersey, and seeking new opportunities as a General Manager. A graduate in Business Administration and Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ, Khater worked in managerial and consultant positions for companies like Peter's Liquors, Panico's Italian Restaurant, PNC, and Topgolf before launching the healthy snack venture Frutta Bowls.
Dubbed a prominent Trump supporter — as evident from his Facebook profile — Khater had also put up profile pictures with slogans like 'Pray for Lebanon' and details about the tragic Beirut explosion of August 2020.
A 2006 report by Newsweek lists one Ellie Khater — who Twitter users are considering to be the mother of Julian Khater — to be tearfully leaving her adopted home in Kherbert Kanafar in Lebanon.
The article mentions her to be a New Jersey native and mother of four, who was forced out of her beloved village home in Lebanon following the clashes between Israel and Hizbullah at the time.
@pbmelendez— Barking Kitty (@barking_kitty) March 15, 2021
Great bit of digging
In that Frutta Bowls LLC 2019 bankruptcy filing,seems Khater’s mother is a creditor w those 2 franchise locations;she is in a 2006 Newsweek article that gives a bit of family background
During the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021, Julian Khater reportedly sprayed officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman with the bear mace on the face, which incapacitated them for over twenty minutes while they experienced severe chemical injuries. The following day, officer Sicknick passed away, and it is now believed by many that the spray by Khater might be the cause of his death.
If convicted in their charges, the duo can face up to 20 years in prison.