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Capitol Police officer killed in car attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda

Capitol Police officer killed in car attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda
© Reuters/Pool

William “Billy” Evans, the Capitol Police officer who died in a car attack at a security barricade outside the Capitol this month, laid in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday.

Evans, 41, was killed on April 2 when a man rammed his car into a Senate-side security checkpoint, crashing into him and another Capitol Police officer stationed there.

Evans is the second Capitol Police officer to receive the rare honor this year, underscoring the series of tragedies endured by the police force this year starting with the Jan. 6 insurrection.  

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He is also just the sixth person in U.S. history to lie in honor — the designation for private citizens — in the Capitol Rotunda. 

Evans served as a Capitol Police officer for 18 years and was a father of two young children. 

His children, nine-year-old Logan and seven-year-old Abigail, both clutched stuffed animals as pallbearers carried their father’s flag-draped casket up the Capitol’s east center front steps and during the ceremony in the Rotunda.

“I want you to know that we are forever indebted to your dad. We will remember his sacrifice and your sacrifice forever,” Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) told the children.

Schumer then addressed the dozens of Capitol Police officers gathered in the stately room to honor their fallen colleague.

“Just as the scars of Jan. 6 had begun to heal, another wound had opened. I say to you now, our dear Capitol Police force who protect us: There is no shame in grief and sorrow and shock. We grieve with you. We feel that shock and sorrow with you. And we will heal, together, with you,” Schumer said.

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At one point during the ceremony, Evans’s daughter dropped a toy — a miniature model Capitol dome — onto the floor. President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE, who was seated nearby, got up out of his chair and handed it back to her while Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiIncreasingly active younger voters liberalize US electorate Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-Calif.) was delivering remarks.

“We hope it's a comfort to you that so many now know about your dad and know that he is a hero. That his name will always be on our lips and his memory in our hearts,” Pelosi said. 

“A greater compliment does no one have than the president of the United States looking after your toys,” Pelosi added with a laugh as she watched Biden return the toy.

Biden spent most of his tribute addressing Evans's family directly and recounted his own experience with grief, having lost his first wife and first daughter child in a car accident and later his son Beau Biden from brain cancer.

“My prayer for all of you is that a day will come when you have that memory and you smile before you bring a tear to your eyes,” Biden said. “I promise you it’s going to come. It just takes a while.”

“Your son, your husband, your brother, your dad was a hero. And he’s part of you,” Biden added.

At one point, Evans’s daughter wiped away tears from her mother’s eyes during a rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Shannon Terranova, Evans’s former wife, continued to wipe away tears and comfort their children.

As the hearse carrying Evans’s casket drove past, scores of Capitol Police officers and National Guard soldiers lined the streets and east front plaza and saluted. They later lined up to pay their respects throughout the day as Evans’s casket rested on a catafalque first constructed in 1865 for when President Lincoln laid in state in the same spot.

Rank-and-file members of Congress also streamed in to pay their respects and salute Evans’s casket before its departure Tuesday evening.

Aside from civil rights activist Rosa Parks and the Rev. Billy Graham, all of the other people to have lain in honor in the Capitol Rotunda were also members of the Capitol Police killed in the line of duty: Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries sustained during the Jan. 6 attack, as well as Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson, who died when a gunman entered the Capitol in 1998. 

The other Capitol Police officer injured during the April 2 attack, Ken Shaver, was hospitalized but attended Tuesday's ceremony to pay his respects wearing plain clothes and a leg boot. 

The motives of the suspect in the April 2 attack, Noah Green, are still under investigation by law enforcement. Green allegedly crashed his car into the security barricade, hitting the two police officers, and then exited his vehicle with a large knife. Green allegedly lunged at another nearby Capitol Police officer, who then fatally shot him.

Friends and family members indicated to news outlets in the days following the attack that Green had mental health issues and delusions.

Tuesday marked yet another harrowing day for members of the Capitol Police, dozens of whom were injured during the Jan. 6 insurrection. In addition to Sicknick dying from injuries sustained while engaging with the mob of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE’s supporters, another Capitol Police officer, Howard Liebengood, died by suicide days after the attack.

The April 2 car attack occurred just more than a week after security officials finished removing an outer layer of fencing that had gone up around the Capitol complex after the insurrection and reopened surrounding streets to traffic. The inner layer of fencing immediately surrounding the main Capitol building remains amid ongoing security repairs.

Updated 5:10 p.m.