WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The 18-year U.S. Capitol Police veteran killed in an attack on the Capitol last week will lie in honor in the building’s Rotunda on April 13, a tribute reserved for the nation’s most eminent private citizens.
William “Billy” Evans, 41, was killed Friday when a vehicle rammed into Evans and another officer at a barricade just 100 yards from the Capitol. The driver, Noah Green, 25, came out of the car with a knife and was shot to death by police, officials said. Investigators believe Green had been delusional and increasingly having suicidal thoughts.
In a joint statement released Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said they hoped next week’s tribute in the Capitol Rotunda would provide comfort to Evans’ family.
“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,” Schumer and Pelosi said.
The U.S. Capitol Police also released a statement from Evans’ family, saying: “His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled.”
The investigation into the attack is ongoing, but there is no indication that Evans was stabbed, slashed, or shot, a police official told the Associated Press Monday. The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.
Lawmakers issued a wave of statements offering their condolences and gratitude to Evans after the Good Friday attack. Capitol Hill aides and members of the press corps that cover Capitol Hill also weighed in, recalling him as friendly and professional.
Evans is being remembered by his loved ones as a man with a sense of humor who loved baseball and golf and was most proud of one particular title: Dad.
Evans, a father of two, grew up in North Adams, Massachusetts, a town of about 13,000 in the northwest part of the state.
Members of Evans’ family said in the statement through the U.S. Capitol Police that the most important thing in Evans’ life was his two children, Logan and Abigail.
“His most cherished moments were those spent with them — building with Lego, having lightsaber duels, playing board games, doing arts and crafts, and recently finishing the Harry Potter series,” the family said. “He was always so eager to show how proud he was of everything they did. Any opportunity to spend time with his children brightened both their lives and his. Their dad was their hero long before the tragic events of last week.”
The family said Evans was proud of his job and that his friendship with colleagues near the “North Barricade” of the Capitol complex was one of the best parts of his job.
“We hold them in our hearts, as we know they acutely share our grief,” the family’s statement read.
Jason LaForest knew Evans for more than 30 years. He was a close friend of Evans’ older sister, Julie, and recalled Evans as a prankster who made sure the subjects of his jokes laughed as well.
LaForest said Evans never considered himself to be a hero.
“He wanted to serve his country as a Capitol police officer and looked forward to seeing lawmakers and visitors who came to the Capitol every day, many of whom became friends of Billy’s in large part because of his good-natured sense of humor,” LaForest said. “And, unfortunately, Billy paid the ultimate price defending his country.”
Evans’ father, Howard, died about seven years ago. His mother, Janice, still lives in Massachusetts.
He attended Western New England University, graduating in 2002 as a criminal justice major. He joined the Capitol Police the next year.
John Claffey, a professor of criminal justice, said that when news of Evans’ death first aired, he had the sense that he knew that smile. “I immediately said that’s a face I recognize,” Claffey said
Over the weekend, Claffey received four calls from former students who just wanted to talk to him about Evans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reporting by Kevin Freking/AP