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Slain Capitol Police officer to lie in honor in Capitol Rotunda

Capitol Police officer William Billy Evans, father of two, and 18-year veteran of the force, will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on April 13. Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Police/Twitter
Capitol Police officer William "Billy" Evans, father of two, and 18-year veteran of the force, will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on April 13. Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Police/Twitter

April 6 (UPI) -- William "Billy" Evans, an 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police killed Friday in an attack while on duty, will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, congressional leaders announced Tuesday.

Evans, who died in the line of duty protecting the U.S. Capitol on Good Friday will lie in honor on April 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

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"The United States Congress joins all Americans in mourning the tragic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes, Officer Bill Evans," the statement read. "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 ceremonial arrival will take place at 10:30 a.m. on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol, and a congressional tribute will be held at 11 a.m.

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The ceremony will be open to invited guests only because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At noon, there will be a viewing period for U.S. Capitol Police. Members of Congress will attend the viewing period from noon to 6 p.m. A ceremonial departure will take place at 6:30 p.m.

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"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 and pray for them at this sad time," the statement continued. "May this tribute also be a source of comfort and an expression of gratitude to the U.S. Capitol Police Force, which has awed our nation with their courage and resilience during this devastating time."

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Evans, who began his service with the U.S. Capitol Police Force on March 7, 2003, was a member of the Capitol Division's First Responder's Unit, according to a U.S. Capitol Police statement.

A suspect, who has since been identified as Noah Green, rammed his car into Evans and another Capitol Police officer Friday before hitting the north barricade at the U.S. Capitol, acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a news conference. The suspect then got out of his car with a knife and ran "aggressively toward officers," she added. At that point, officers shot and killed Green.

Pittman expressed "profound sadness" in statement upon news Evans died from injuries sustained in the attack.

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The other Capitol police officer was injured and transported to the hospital and has since left the hospital, The Hill reported.

Evans, who turned 41 this year, was a western Massachusetts native, The Berkshire Eagle reported.

"He loved making people laugh," a childhood friend Jason LaForest, now a North Adams city councilor, told The Berkshire Eagle. "He loved telling jokes and carrying out pranks on his friends and family. He loved being a dad. And he was so proud to be a U.S. Capitol Police Officer. He carried his badge everywhere. He was just so proud, and his family was so proud of him. We were all proud of him."

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"Billy was the best father, son, brother and friend anyone could ever hope for," his family said in a statement that U.S. Capitol Police posted to Twitter. "His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled."

Evans will be the second U.S. Capitol Police officer to lie in honor in the Rotunda this year.

A memorial was held Feb. 3 at the Rotunda for Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, of New Brunswick, N.J., who was killed from injuries sustained in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

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Other Capitol Police officers who have lain in honor in the Rotunda, include John Gibson, 42, and Jacob Chestnut, Jr., 58, who died in the line of duty on July 24, 1998, when a gunman burst through a U.S. Capitol security checkpoint.

They became the first private citizens to lie in honor in the Rotunda and were subsequently buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors, according to the U.S. House of Representatives archives.

The gunmen in the fatal 1998 shooting was headed toward then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay's office. DeLay credited Gibson and Chestnut with saving his life.

Other individuals who have lain in honor in the Capitol Rotunda include civil rights leader Rosa Parks and Rev. Billy Graham.

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