President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders paid tribute to Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans Tuesday in the Rotunda after he was killed when a vehicle rammed into Evans and another officer at a barricade just 100 yards from the Capitol building.
Biden spoke directly to Evans’ family members – his mother, sister, two children and their mother – about grief. ‘I buried two of my children,’ Biden told the officer’s mother, pointing out that while he didn’t know Billy, ‘I knew Billys,’ listing some of the characteristics of cops the president knew from back home in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
The president told the family that it will get easier.
‘But the truth is, the time is going to come, I promise you – not believable now – when a memory, a fragrance, a scene, a circumstance, the way his son tilts his head when he did at that age, it’s going to bring back the memory,’ Biden said.
Biden said he hoped for the day when that memory elicited a smile before a tear.
‘I promise you it’s going to come,’ the president continued. ‘You’re going to make it, by holding each other together, most importantly, by holding Logan and Abigail, as tightly as you can.’
‘Because as long as you have them, you’ve got Billy,’ Biden said.
Evans’ children, Logan and Abigail, held stuffed animals as they watched his coffin be carried up the Capitol steps. Logan was wearing his father’s police hat as he sat down in the Rotunda. Biden picked up one of their dropped toys as he waited to speak. He gave the children challenge coins afterward.
Evans, 41, was rammed by a car at the Capitol on April 2 and died from multiple blunt force injuries to the head. The Washington D.C. medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Logan (left) and Abigail (right), the children of Officer Billy Evans look around the Rotunda during a ceremony for their father attended by top Congressional leadership and the president of the United States
Billy Evans’ son Logan wears a police hat during a ceremony Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda
President Joe Biden gives remarks at a ceremony in honor of Capitol Police Office Billy Evans
Billy Evans’ daughter Abigail plays with her mom Shannon’s mask during a ceremony for the officer Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) stands alongside President Joe Biden (right) in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday as Officer Billy Evans lies in honor at the U.S. Capitol
Billy Evans’ children Logan (left) and Abigail (right) look at the program with a photo of their father
On Tuesday, lines of National Guard troops guarding the Capitol since the January 6 MAGA riot saluted the procession as the black hearse carrying Evans’ casket drove to the building.
Capitol Police officers intercepted it outside and stood and watched as it was carried inside the Capitol to the Rotunda, where Evans will be the second Capitol Police officer in 2021 to lie in honor.
At the ceremony, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke first.
Schumer noted how Capitol Police officers are ‘approached by hundreds of lost tourists a day.’
‘If you were one of the lucky ones, you’d bump into Officer Billy Evans,’ Schumer said.
‘Excuse me, they’d say, can I ask you a question. Billy would flash a wide smiles, eyes full of mirth and say, “But you already did,”‘ Schumer said. ‘To know Billy Evans was to know, to borrow from Shakespeare, a fellow of infinite jest.’
Schumer kidded that not all of Evans’ jokes were winners, calling a number of them ‘dad jokes.’
Getting back to the tourist anecdote, Schumer noted how Evans would reply, ‘Now let me ask you a question, he’d say, how can I help.’
‘Summing up his life’s mission in those four simple words,’ the New York Democrat said.
Schumer said Evans had an ‘innate impulse’ to run toward danger.
‘A reflex as natural and automatic as breath to put his safety and happiness of others before his own,’ Schumer said.
Schumer also spoke more broadly to the Capiotl Police force.
‘These last few months have been devastating. Just as the scars of January 6 have begun to heal, another wound has opened,’ the Senate leader said. ‘To our dear Capitol Police force who protect us, there is no shame in grief and sorry and shock. We grieve with you.’
Schumer encouraged those who knew Evans to keep talking about him, noting how in the Jewish faith they say to let his memory be a blessing.
‘Tell his stories, tell his jokes, even the bad ones, especially the bad ones, to keep his memory alive,’ he said.
Officer Billy Evans’ two children, Logan and Abigail, held stuffed animals as they watched the coffin get carried into the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday
The hearse carrying the casket of Capitol Police officer Billy Evans arrives Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Evans will lie in honor
A hearse carrying the casket containing the remains of late U.S. Capitol Police officer William Evans, who was killed in the line of duty on April 2, arrives at the U.S. Capitol
Capitol police officers gather prior to a ceremony honoring fellow officer William Evans
A line of Capitol Police officers salute the hearse carrying Billy Evans casket to Capitol Hill Tuesday
A line of Capitol Police officers greet the hearse carrying the late Officer Billy Evans
Officer William Evans will lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol after he was killed in the line of duty when a car drove into security barriers
The security booth near where US Capitol Police Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans was killed on April 2, 2021 is draped in black and adorned with photos and flowers prior to his casket arriving at the Capitol
A box of tissues sit on the base of a statue in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on April 13, 2021 where Billy Evans will lie in honor
US Capitol police officers gather prior to a ceremony honoring fellow officer William Evans
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted Tuesday morning, ‘Today, we honor a martyr for our democracy, Officer William F. Evans, who will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. May this tribute be a source of comfort & an expression of gratitude to the Capitol Police Force, which has awed our nation with their resilience during this time.’
She followed up that sentiment by speaking directly to Evans’ children.
‘I hope it is a comfort to them that their father, an American hero, is lying where Abraham Lincoln lay,’ Pelosi said.
The flag at the Capitol is lowered to half staff. And black bunting was placed around Evans’ patrol area on the Senate side of the Capitol, where he was on duty when a car rushed the barricade.
A comfort dog, named Officer Clarence, was brought in. Officer Clarence is a Saint Bernard and is a member of the Greenfield Police Department in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony is open to invited guests only.
His family described Evans as a ‘father, son, brother and friend’ in a statement on Tuesday.
They noted he loved lightsaber duels and Harry Potter, who made friends with anyone he met. And they said the most important thing in life were his children Logan and Abigail.
‘Billy was the best father, son, brother, and friend anyone could ever hope for. His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled,’ the Evans family said in a statement released by the U.S. Capitol Police.
The family also released photos of Evans with his children. In one Logan and Abigail are in their Halloween costumes, and, in the second, Evans is laying in a hammock with them, wearing a shirt that reads USCP.
The family of slain U.S. Capitol Police Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans paid tribute to him as a father, noting his love for his children Abigail and Logan
The Evans family statement said Billy Evans enjoyed lightsaber duels and playing lego with his children
The Evans family noted ‘Billy had the open, welcoming personality that led him to make friends with anyone he met’
Capitol Police Officer William ‘Billy’ Evans (right) 41, who was rammed by Noah Green’s (left) car at the Capitol, died from multiple blunt force injuries to the head
‘The absolute most important thing in his life was his two children, Logan and Abigail. His most cherished memories were those spent with them – building Lego, having lightsaber duels, playing board games, doing arts and crafts, and recently finishing the Harry Potter series,’ the family said. ‘Their dad was their hero long before the tragic events of last week.’
‘While family was always first, Billy had the open, welcoming personality that led him to make friends with anyone he met. He relished bringing people together and making sure everyone felt included and had a good time.’
‘The outpouring of support we have received from the law enforcement community from around the country and world both humbles us and serves as a testament to Billy’s sacrifice and dedication to the mission of which he was charged.’
Their statement comes following the announcement Evans will lie in honor in the United States Capitol Rotunda next week after being killed in the line of duty.
‘In giving his life to protect our Capitol and our Country, Officer Evans became a martyr for our democracy. On behalf of the entire Congress, we are profoundly grateful,’ the two Democratic leaders said in a statement.
Evans was killed when a vehicle rammed into Evans and another officer at a barricade just 100 yards from the Capitol building.
‘It is our hope that this tribute will be a comfort to the family of Officer Evans, particularly his children Logan and Abigail, as will the knowledge that so many Americans mourn with and pray for them at this sad time,’ Schumer and Pelosi said.
Evans was an 18-year veteran of the force.
Evans is the sixth person and fourth Capitol Police officer to receive the distinction of lying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, a designation for those who were not government or military officials.
Officer Billy Evans was killed in last Friday’s attack on Capitol Hill when a vehicle rammed into Evans and another officer at a barricade just 100 yards from the Capitol building
Noah Green was shot and killed by Capitol Police following the attack
The American flag at the U.S. Capitol is lowered to half-staff in honor of Capitol Police officer William Evans
Friday night the flag was lowered from the Capitol and folded by USCP officers in the rotunda; it will be presented to Officer Evans’ family
Officer Evans is the sixth person and fourth Capitol Police officer to lie in honor of the Rotunda; the cremated remains of U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick lay in honor on February 2 after Sicknick died in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot
The driver, Noah Green, 25, came out of the car with a knife and was shot to death by police, officials said in the aftermath.
Investigators believe Green, who described himself as a ‘Follower of Farrakhan’ and said the federal government was targeting him with mind control on his now-removed Facebook page, had been delusional and increasingly having suicidal thoughts.
In the chaotic moments after the attack, law enforcement officials initially believed the suspect, who was seen on surveillance video lunging at the officers with a knife, may have stabbed Evans, but that was not the case, the AP reported. Rumors also had swirled around fears that Evans may have been struck by friendly fire when police started shooting at the suspect.
The U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters entrance in Washington, is draped in black
The death of Evans came nearly three months after the Jan. 6 MAGA riot at the Capitol that left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Sicknick’s remains also lay in honor in the rotunda.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined Sicknick’s family members, lawmakers, and colleagues from the Capitol Police in paying tribute to the officer.
Sicknick was the fifth person to lie in honor. Famed evangelist Rev. Billy Graham received the honor in 2018.
Civil rights icon Rosa Parks lay in honor in 2005. Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson, who were shot and killed by a Capitol intruder, were given the honor in 1998.