The name of a local man who died in Washington, D.C., on the day of the U.S. Capitol attack appeared in headlines and social media threads across the world as people tried to piece together who he was and the circumstances surrounding his death.
Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, was identified Thursday by Chief Robert Contee of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department as one of four individuals who died in connection to a protest at the U.S. Capitol. The family said in a statement the same day that Greeson was "a wonderful father and husband who loved life."
"Kevin was an advocate of President Trump and attended the event on January 6, 2021, to show his support," the statement reads. "He was excited to be there to experience this event."
Posts on an account under Greeson's name on the social media platform Parler depicted Greeson as a supporter of the far-right group Proud Boys and someone who didn't just support Trump but wished harm upon those who spoke out against him. One post called for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to die of COVID-19, while another called for people to load up on guns and ammunition to "take this ... country back."
However, his family said in their statement that he was not at the Capitol to engage in violence or rioting. Instead, they said, Greeson had a history of high blood pressure and the chaos in D.C. contributed to his death.
"In the midst of the excitement, (Kevin) suffered a heart attack," according to the statement. "Our family is devastated."
A New York Times reporter corroborated this statement Thursday. NYT reported Greeson had been on the phone with his wife when he fell to the sidewalk, and the reporter watched as emergency personnel rushed to help but failed to revive Greeson.
Greeson's wife told NYT that the father of five had stayed with a friend in Virginia the night before the rally and was excited to attend. He thought it would be a "monumental event," she said.
"I didn't want him to go," she told the paper. "I didn't feel like it was safe."
In their statement, the family described Greeson as a man who loved motorcycles, his job and coworkers, and his dogs. They thanked everyone who has offered thoughts and prayers but asked the public to respect their privacy as they continue to grieve their loss.
U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Brian D. SicknickIn addition to Greeson, four others were reported as deaths related to the Capitol attack. Ashli Babbitt, 35, of Maryland, was shot and killed by U.S. Capitol Police while trying to enter the building. Benjamin Phillips, 50, of Pennsylvania, and Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Georgia, died of medical emergencies, according to police.
Officer Brian Sicknick of the USCP was injured in the riot and hospitalized. He died as a result of his injuries.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund issued a statement Thursday in which he said more than 50 Capitol and Washington police officers were injured and several Capitol Police officers had been hospitalized with severe injuries.
More than 80 people have been arrested in connection to the attack. Among them is 70-year-old Lonnie Coffman of Falkville, who faces charges of carrying a pistol without a license and having an unregistered gun and ammunition.
According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, Coffman, 70, was arrested after authorities found 11 Molotov cocktails, an M4 Carbine assault rifle and two handguns inside a pickup truck with Alabama plates.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama said it plans to prosecute anyone from North Alabama who traveled to D.C. intending to join the violent protest. The FBI has requested anyone with information relevant to their investigation of the protest to visit fbi.gov/USCapitol or call 1-800-225-5324.