US Capitol Police (USCP) Officer William “Billy” F. Evans lay in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday as President Joe Biden, congressional leaders and lawmakers paid their respects.
Evans died on Friday, April 2, when a man rammed his vehicle into several officers standing at a barricade outside the Capitol. The suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Noah Green, exited his car wielding a knife and was fatally shot by another policeman.
“I didn’t know Billy, but I knew Billy,” Biden said during his speech at the Capitol ceremony honoring Evans. “He was the one who always kept his word, if he said he’d be there, he’d be there. He was the one who, just like folks I grew up with, was incapable of saying no when you needed him.”
The president also talked about his personal experience of losing family members, including his first wife Neilia Hunter Biden and one-year-old daughter Naomi who died in a car crash in 1972, and his son Beau Biden who died of brain cancer at the age of 46 in 2015.
“You are going to make it by holding each other together,” Biden said, addressing Evans’ family members. “Most importantly, by holding Logan and Abigail as tightly as you can. Because as long as you have them, you’ve got Billy.”
“Officer Billy Evans was a hero whose life was distinguished by dedication to our country, including 18 years on the Capitol Police force. He represented the best of public service: selflessness, sacrifice and sheer courage in the face of the threat to our nation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Speaking to BBC, a life-long friend of the 41-year-old officer, Jason LaForest, said Evans was “an amazing guy” with a “phenomenal sense of humor and that he decided to be a USCP officer at a very young age while he was in college.
Evans was a father of two and an 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police force and served in the Department’s first responders unit. He is the second USCP officer to lie in honor this year. Officer Brian Sicknick, another member of the Department, died after sustaining injuries at the January 6 insurrection. He also lay in honor in the US Capitol.