CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Capitol Police Officer William Francis "Billy" Evans, 41, will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda next week, becoming one of four members of the force to do so.
Evans was killed Friday when Noah Green, 25, rammed his car into him and fellow Officer Ken Shaver before hitting a barricade on the north side of the Capitol grounds. Green was shot dead when he exited the car with a knife in his hand; Shaver was hospitalized overnight and released the next day.
Evans' family released a statement to the media on Tuesday afternoon describing him as "the best father, son, brother, and friend anyone could ever hope for. His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled." They expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support they have received from the law enforcement community and asked that their privacy be respected.
Born in North Adams, Evans was the son of Janice M. Tenczar Evans and the late Howard William Evans, a longtime accountant at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who died in 2014. He leaves his wife, Shannon, and two children, Logan and Abigail; and a sister, Julie Kucyn.
The North Adams native moved with his family to Clarksburg and attended school there, and graduated from Drury High School. The North Adams School Committee held a moment of silence in his honor at its meeting Tuesday night.
Evans was a member of the Drury band and played baseball for years, including for Babe Ruth League, Drury and Western New England University, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2002. Less than a year later, he joined the Capitol Police force, serving for 18 years.
According to the Washington Post, only five people who were not public or military officials have previously lain in state in the Rotunda: Officers Jacob J. Chestnut and John M. Gibson, of Boston, who were shot in 1998 by an intruder inside the Capitol while assigned to the detail of Congressman Tom DeLay; Rosa Parks in 2005; the Rev. Billy Graham in 2018; and most recently Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed in the attack on the Capitol in January.
"My heart broke watching the scene at the U.S. Capitol unfold this afternoon," said Congressman Richard E. Neal on Friday. "Every day I am truly grateful for the brave men and women who work to protect our Capitol, the people who visit it, and those who go to work inside it's beautiful buildings. When I walk into my office, I greet and thank the guards for their service each and every day. They not only protect us, but our beloved institutions of democracy.
"Today's news of the passing of USCP Officer William 'Billy' Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force, is tragic, and hits home as Officer Evans is a native of Western Massachusetts. He is indeed a hometown hero and a patriot who risked and sadly lost his life to protect our country. We are a grateful nation in mourning. This evening, my thoughts are with his family and friends who are grieving his untimely passing."
A GoFundMe to set up a trust for his two children was created by one of his U.S. Capitol Police colleagues and is the only one authorized by the Evans family. Donations may be made here.
Statement from the Evans family:
Billy was the best father, son, brother, and friend anyone could ever hope for. His death has left a gaping void in our lives that will never be filled.
The absolute most important thing in his life was his two children, Logan and Abigail. His most cherished moments were those spent with them — 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.
While family was always first, Billy had the open, welcoming personality that led him to make friends with anyone he met. He relished bringing people together and making sure everyone felt included and had a good time. The countless testimonials that we have heard from people who knew him capture the warm, funny, and caring person we loved.
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.
Our family is grateful for the immense level of support we have received from USCP in the darkest moment of our lives. 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.
We appreciate the level of privacy we have received so far and ask for your continued respect during this difficult time.
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