Officer killed in attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda

MICHELLE STODDART
·4 min read

U.S. Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans, who died in the line of duty April 2 when a car struck him and then rammed into a barricade, is lying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.

PHOTO: A casket containing the remains of Capitol Police officer William Evans, who was killed in the line of duty on April 2, arrives for a ceremony honoring the officer at the Capitol in Washington, April 13, 2021. (Shawn Thew/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: A casket containing the remains of Capitol Police officer William Evans, who was killed in the line of duty on April 2, arrives for a ceremony honoring the officer at the Capitol in Washington, April 13, 2021. (Shawn Thew/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a tribute to the fallen Capitol police officer attended by members of Congress.

Biden reflected on his own grief, saying that having buried two of his own children he understands the pain of losing a loved one and how painful the memories can be.

PHOTO: Logan Evans (L) and Abigail Evans, children of late U.S. Capitol Police officer William Evans, look at the program with a photo of their father as he lies in honor in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, April 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (J. Scott Applewhite/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Logan Evans (L) and Abigail Evans, children of late U.S. Capitol Police officer William Evans, look at the program with a photo of their father as he lies in honor in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, April 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (J. Scott Applewhite/Getty Images)

"Your son, your husband, your brother, your dad was a hero, and he's part of you, he's in your blood," Biden said. "My prayer for you is that moment of a smile comes before the tear, quicker and longer."

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

The House Chaplain, Margaret Grun Kibben, delivered a prayer to begin the ceremony. Then, Schumer described Evans as a man of "infinite jest," detailing his penchant for pranks and dad jokes.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks during a ceremony to honor slain Capitol Police Officer William 'Billy' Evans as he lies in honor at the Capitol in Washington, DC, April 13, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks during a ceremony to honor slain Capitol Police Officer William 'Billy' Evans as he lies in honor at the Capitol in Washington, DC, April 13, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AFP via Getty Images)

"To know Billy Evans was to know, to borrow from Shakespeare, a fellow of infinite jest," Schumer said. "His childhood friends will tell you that Billy capitalized literally on every opportunity for a joke."

Schumer also detailed Evan's commitment to helping others.

"And on an unseasonably cold day in early April, that innate impulse to ask 'how can I help' had Billy running towards danger, a reflex as natural and as automatic as breath to put the safety and happiness of others before his own," Schumer said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also spoke, praising Evans as an American hero being honored with his coffin on the same catafalque, or wooden stand, that held the coffin of former president Abraham Lincoln.

PHOTO: A casket containing the remains of Capitol Police officer William Evans, who was killed in the line of duty on April 2, arrives for a ceremony honoring the officer at the Capitol in Washington, April 13, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)
PHOTO: A casket containing the remains of Capitol Police officer William Evans, who was killed in the line of duty on April 2, arrives for a ceremony honoring the officer at the Capitol in Washington, April 13, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

"I hope it is a comfort to Logan and Abigail, I see they have their cozies with them there, but I hope that is also a comfort to them that their father, an American hero, is lying where Abraham Lincoln lay on a catafalque built for Abraham Lincoln," Pelosi said.

MORE: Capitol Police officer's family says his death 'left a gaping void in our lives'

Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also praised Evans, saying he was a "friend and favorite of of many here on the Senate side" during a floor speech.

"Officer Evans was famous within the Senate for his friendly spirit and easy manner. His particular post often meant he was literally the first line of defense of the Congress, the interface between these grounds and the outside world. We could not have had a kinder, more likable ambassador at this junction or a more faithful protector to keep us safe," McConnell said. "It will be with tremendous grief but tremendous gratitude that we will walk Officer Evans through the Capitol for the final time tomorrow where he will lie in honor in the rotunda."

MORE: Suspect identified in killing of officer at US Capitol barricade: Sources

Evan's family released a statement last week saying that the death "left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled."

PHOTO: A Capitol Police Officer places flowers in a memorial for Officer William Evans outside the U.S. Capitol, April 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
PHOTO: A Capitol Police Officer places flowers in a memorial for Officer William Evans outside the U.S. Capitol, April 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
PHOTO: The remains of the late U.S. Capitol Police officer William 'Billy' Evans arrive for a memorial service in the Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol, April 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: The remains of the late U.S. Capitol Police officer William 'Billy' Evans arrive for a memorial service in the Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol, April 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"The absolute most important thing in his life were his two children, Logan and Abigail," the statement says. "His most cherished moments were those spent with them – building with Lego, having light saber duels, playing boardgames, doing arts and crafts and recently finishing the Harry Potter series. 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."

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

MORE: Suspect in Capitol attack 'intentionally struck' officers: Police

His family recounted his warmth, and how "funny and caring" he was, and said that he "relished bringing people together."

PHOTO: A memorial for Officer William Evans is displayed at the entrance to the U.S. Capitol grounds, April 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C.  (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
PHOTO: A memorial for Officer William Evans is displayed at the entrance to the U.S. Capitol grounds, April 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Evan's family, including his children, Logan and Abigail, their mother, Shannon, and Evan's mother, Janice, were in attendance on Tuesday. Evan's daughter held a stuffed animal throughout the service, while Logan wore a police cap at times throughout the ceremony. The U.S. Army Chorus Quartet sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to end the ceremony.

PHOTO: Logan, left, and Abigail, children of Capitol Police officer William 'Billy' Evans look around the rotunda as Evans lies in honor during a ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, DC, April 13, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/Reuters)
PHOTO: Logan, left, and Abigail, children of Capitol Police officer William 'Billy' Evans look around the rotunda as Evans lies in honor during a ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, DC, April 13, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/Reuters)

"We're all shocked by the senselessness of this loss. To his sister Julie, his mother Janice, who was able to speak with last week, to Shannon, my heart breaks for you, it does. To Billy's beloved children, Logan, Abigail, I want you to know that we are forever indebted to your dad," Schumer said. "We will remember his sacrifice and your sacrifice, forever."

ABC News' Luke Barr and Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

Officer killed in attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda originally appeared on abcnews.go.com