Fallen U.S. Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans was honored at the Capitol Rotunda by President Joe Biden and lawmakers following the second attack on the Capitol this year.
The 18-year-veteran was killed on April 2 when he was struck by a driver who rammed his vehicle into the Capitol’s north barricade. The suspect, 25-year-old Noah Green, was shot and later died.
Inside the Rotunda, family members, law enforcement, and lawmakers gathered to honor the fallen officer. Evans was the second Capitol officer to die in the line of duty this year, following Officer Brian Sicknick who was killed during the Capitol riots. Sicknick was honored at the Rotunda earlier this year.
Evans’ casket, draped in the American flag, was escorted by uniformed officers and placed on a black-covered catafalque – the same that once carried Abraham Lincoln’s coffin.
According to USA Today, Biden said that Evans was defined “by his dignity, his decency, his loyalty, and his courage.” He added that Evans reminded him of the kids he grew up with in Pennsylvania – never scared of a fight, and unable to say no whenever he was needed.
Biden then reflected on his own personal losses when addressing Evans’ family.
“You are 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,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Evans “a martyr for our democracy, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Evans’ life mission could be encapsulated by “four simple words: How can I help?”
“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,” Pelosi said.
The tradition of using the Capitol Rotunda to pay tribute to distinguished Americans began in 1852, but historically the tradition has been reserved for military officers and elected officials. More recently, Congress has extended the tradition to private citizens.
Evans is the sixth Capitol police officer to be killed in the line of duty since the inception of the force nearly 200 years ago.
After the ceremony, there were viewing periods for both law enforcement and congress, and finally a ceremonial departure before bringing Evans to his final resting place.