Officer William “Billy” F. Evans, 41, served for 18 years on the Capitol Police force. On Tuesday, his family released a statement saying, “His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled.” He was a father of two children, who his family said were “the absolute most important thing in his life. … His most cherished moments were those spent with them.”
D.C. police said Evans was killed by Noah Green, 25, of Newport News, Va., who first slammed into Evans and another Capitol Police officer with his car shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, then climbed out of the car wielding a knife and was fatally shot by a third Capitol Police officer. The second injured officer was hospitalized overnight and released Saturday. Authorities on Tuesday identified him as Ken Shaver.
“In giving his life to protect our Capitol and our Country, Officer Evans became a martyr for our democracy,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Congress, we are profoundly grateful. … 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 with and pray for them at this sad time. 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.”
Evans joins his colleague, Officer Brian D. Sicknick, as one of six people to lie in the Rotunda who were not a public official or military leader. Sicknick, 42, died in January, shortly after battling with rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. Two Capitol Police officers who were fatally shot inside the Capitol in July 1998, John M. Gibson and Jacob J. Chestnut, were the first people to lie in honor in the Rotunda. Evangelist Billy Graham and civil rights icon Rosa Parks were similarly honored.
In a statement released through the Capitol Police, Evans’s family said, “The outpouring of support we have received from the law enforcement community from around the country and world both humbles us and serves as a testament to Billy’s sacrifice and dedication to the mission of which he was charged.”
The family said Evans spent time with his children: “building with Lego, having lightsaber duels, playing board games, 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.”
The statement also noted that: “Billy was proud to be a United States Capitol Police Officer. His colleagues from the North Barricade were the people he spent so many hours with, and their friendship was one of the best parts of his job. We hold them in our hearts, as we know they acutely share our grief.”
Shaver’s family has not commented publicly.
Authorities have not commented on Green’s motive in the attack, but his family has said he began to “experience hardships” after his graduation from Christopher Newport University. The family said Green suffered from “depression and potential mental illness.”
On his Facebook page, Green made multiple references to his interests in the Nation of Islam. On Tuesday, the Nation issued a statement on behalf of its leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, which said Green was “not a registered member of the Nation of Islam.” The statement said it appeared Green had begun studying to become a member in the summer, but did not complete the process.
The statement noted that the Nation “has no history of violence against the government,” and offered its sympathy to the victims and their families. “We have held four national marches, including the historic 1995 Million Man March. … We had a good working relationship with the U.S. Capitol Police during each of these historic events.”
Green did make a donation to the Nation of Islam, the statement confirmed, and his Facebook page showed a “Certificate of Completion” from the Nation. “This certificate does not establish that the donor is a member in good standing in the Nation of Islam,” the statement said. The Nation said Green’s use of an automobile as a weapon, and possession of a knife, “violates our teachings. We absolutely disavow this act that resulted in the senseless loss of life.”
Evans will lie in the Rotunda on April 13, beginning with a ceremonial arrival at 10:30 a.m. and a congressional tribute at 11 a.m. Only certain guests will be allowed to attend because of the pandemic. A viewing period will begin at noon for members of the Capitol Police, followed by members of Congress until 6 p.m., and then a ceremonial departure at 6:30 p.m., the congressional leaders said in their statement.
Michelle Boorstein and John Wagner contributed to this report.