The U.S. Capitol Police officer who was killed during a Friday attack outside the U.S. Capitol is being remembered as an “all-American kid” and a dedicated father who was living his dream, according to officials and reports.
U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officials identified William “Billy” Evans as the officer who died Friday afternoon after a suspect rammed a car into Evans and another officer at the Capitol Building’s North Barricade, officials announced later that day. Evans was an 18-year veteran of the force.
Evans joined USCP on March 7, 2003, when former Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer was at the helm, and worked in the department’s First Responder’s Unit. Evans was “a wonderful guy,” Gainer told USA Today on Friday.
“He was held in high regard by the force and Capitol staff,” Gainer told USA Today. “The officers are crushed, their resilience stretched.”
The USCP thanked the public on Saturday morning for the outpouring of support in the wake of its most recent tragedy.
“Please know your sympathy is appreciated beyond words,” the tweet states.
Evans, 41, was born in North Adams and stayed in the Western Massachusetts region during his early life, friends told the Boston Globe. He leaves behind two young children, according to the report.
Brendan Bullett, who played Little League with Evans and stayed close for years after, told the Globe that Evans was “just a really good dude.”
“I don’t say that in a light manner. I think that was the best way that I can come up with [to describe] him,” Bullett told the newspaper. “He cared a lot about his friends. He absolutely adored his children. … He was good to everybody. He was kind.”
State Representative John Barrett III, who crossed paths with Evans when he was North Adams’ mayor, told the newspaper Evans was “an all-American kid in the sense that he grew up in a small town, played sports, and was a member of the band.”
Working for USCP had been Evans’ dream since his time at Western New England University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2002, according to the Globe.
“He grew up from being one of my best friends’ annoying kid brothers to a truly fun-loving and inspiring dad,” North Adams City Councilor Jason M. LaForest told the Globe on Friday. “He loved being a US Capitol Police officer more than anyone really could say.”
Larry Cosme, national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said Evans “gave his life in dedication to protecting our nation’s democracy and should be treated as a national hero.”
David Popp, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, remembered his own interactions with Evans and called Friday “a very sad day.”
“Officer Evans was often at that barricade when we arrived for work,” Popp wrote in a tweet accompanying a statement from his boss. “He was so friendly and professional, and seeing him was always a plus.”
President Biden said in a statement that he and his wife were heartbroken to learn of Friday’s attack and expressed condolences to Evans’ family. He directed flags at the White House to be lowered to half-staff.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed Evans as a “martyr for our democracy.” She and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer both spoke Friday with members of Evans’ family.
The death is the latest moment of sorrow for the department after the loss of Brian Sicknick, who was injured during the Jan. 6 riot and died a day later, and Howard Liebengood, who committed suicide days after that.
Video shows the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters shortly after the attack.
Authorities shot the suspect, identified by law enforcement officials as 25-year-old Noah Green, who later died at a hospital.
Police said the second officer who was struck by the vehicle suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators were digging into his background and examining whether he had any history of mental health problems as they tried to discern a motive. They were working to obtain warrants to access his online accounts.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.