11:50 a.m. — Congressional tribute for Officer Billy Evans draws to a close
Near the end of an emotional ceremony for William "Billy" Evans, as "Amazing Grace" rang out through the Capitol rotunda, Evans' daughter laid her head in her mother's lap. Her mother, Shannon, stroked her and held back tears.
Throughout the hourlong remembrance, speakers choked up and lowered their voices as they spoke about Evans. They remembered his dedication to his work and his family, his "dad jokes," his kindness, and the joy that he found in each moment of life.
Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black offered the final words in the ceremony.
"Eternal God, we thank you for your amazing grace, as we face the painful human reality of death," Black said. "We thank you, in the midst of our grief, for the courageous life and legacy of officer William Evans. May his ultimate sacrifice inspire us to be more vigilant in protecting our freedoms."
As the clock struck noon, marking the beginning of the official viewing period, his two children, Logan and Abigail, and their mother, were the first to pay their respects. President Joe Biden paid his respects shortly thereafter and saluted the casket.
Billy Evans will lie in honor in the rotunda until Tuesday evening.
Senators Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Susan Collins, Elizabeth Warren were among the guests in attendance, along with Biden, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Evans' family and his colleagues from the U.S. Capitol Police.
11:30 a.m. — President Biden says, 'I didn't know Billy, but I knew Billy'
Speaking at a memorial in the Capitol rotunda for Officer William "Billy" Evans, President Joe Biden told Evans' mother he was familiar with the man even if he had never known the officer, because he had grown up with people similar to Evans.
"Billy was always the kid that you know, if you got in the fight, you're outnumbered three to one, he'd still jump in, knowing you'd both get beat up," he said. "He was the one who always kept his word. If he said he'd be there, he'd be there. He was the one who, just like the folks I grew up with, was incapable of saying no when you needed him."
He apologized to U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Kyle King, Evan's friend from North Adams who went into the force with him, for the difficulty of making the phone call to Evans' family that the officer had passed.
Biden also reminded Evans' mother, Janice, that he had buried two of his own children. He spoke from the podium but looked directly at her.
"People have come up to you and are going to come up to you for some time and say, 'I know how you feel,'" he said.
He told her that the time would come when "a memory, a fragrance, a scene, a circumstance, the way his son tilts his head the way he did when he was that age" would bring back the memory of getting the phone call that Evans had passed.
"And there are going to be people celebrating Billy's life," he said. "And as much as you appreciate it, all of you, it also is hard. You relive everything again."
He told the family that they would make it through "by holding eeach other together, most importantly by holding Logan and Abigail as tightly as you can. Because as long as you have them, you've got Billy."
The day will come, Biden said, when the memory of Billy brings a smile before it brings a tear.
"I promise you, it's gonna come, it just takes a while," he said. "It takes a while. But when it comes, you'll know because he's still with you, he's still in your heart. Losing a son, daughter, brother, sister, mom, dad, is like losing a piece of your soul."
But, he added, "It comes back."
He finished by addressing Evans' family once again.
"Your son, your husband, your brother, your dad was a hero," he said. "It's in your blood."
After his remarks, he walked over to Evans' mother and put a hand on her shoulder, then spoke directly to Evans' children, before the U.S. Army Chorus Quarter began singing a rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
11:20 a.m. — Rep. Nancy Pelosi calls Officer Evans 'a true American hero'
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, spoke at the ceremony for William Evans, promising to remember him.
"Officer Evans joins a pantheon of heroes who have given their lives to defend this capital, including on Jan. 6," Pelosi said. "Officer Billy Evans was a hero whose life was distinguished by dedication to our country."
Remembering Evans, Pelosi cited words that people had said about Billy, including a quote from The Eagle's reporting: "He carried the badge everywhere. He was just so proud."
She also remembered his devotion to his family.
"Many of us have heard Billy's friends talk about [how] his favorite part of the day was returning home from work to see his children's faces light up with joy," she said.
11 a.m. — President Joe Biden arrives in Capitol rotunda for ceremony to honor Evans
President Joe Biden arrived at the Capitol rotunda at 11:10 a.m., along with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Less than a minute later, attendees stood as the casket was carried into the Capitol. Evans' wife and children, clad in black dress and black masks, also entered the room, watching as the casket was moved slowly onto the podium.
House Chaplain Margaret G. Kibben led a prayer.
"Be with us, for we have lost a son, a father, a friend, and a partner, Officer William 'Billy' Evans, and we need the strength of your everlasting arms," Kibben said. "Soothe our sorrow of the indelible memories of good times shared with him, evidence of the blessings of a life well lived and well loved. Shine your light into the gloom of death's shadow. May it shed courage and consolation upon Officer Evans' mother Janice, his children Logan and Abigail, and their mother Shannon."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, spoke next, opening his remarks with memories of Evans' humor and congeniality.
"Capitol Police officers are approached by hundreds of lost tourists a day. If you were one of the lucky ones you'd bump into Officer Billy Evans," Schumer said. "'Excuse me,' they'd say. 'Can I ask a question?' Billy would flash his wide smile, eyes full of mirth, and say, 'But you already did.' "
But, Schumer continued, Evans would then ask, "How can I help?"
Schumer said those four words summed up Evans' life mission.
"And on an unseasonably cold day in early April, that innate impulse to ask, 'How can I help,' had Billy running towards danger," Schumer continued. "A reflex, as natural and as automatic as breath, to put the safety and happiness of others before his own."
Schumer asked everyone in attendance to keep Evans' memory alive.
"Those of you who remember Billy need to speak his name, tell his stories, tell his jokes, even the bad ones," he said. "Especially the bad ones. To keep his memory alive. To make sure his young children grow up knowing their dad and remembering him as the hero and loving father he was. Today, we are hollow with loss. But one day, Billy's memory will feel like a blessing."
Just as Billy searched for the spark of joy in every moment, Schumer finished, "So can we."
In a statement on Tuesday morning, Capitol Police wrote that lying in the Capitol rotunda is an honor "reserved traditionally for presidents, members of Congress and other dignitaries." USCP also wrote that the other officer injured in the April 2 attack at the checkpoint was hospitalized and is now recovering from his injuries at home.
10:30 a.m. — Officer Billy Evans' body arrives at the Capitol
Capitol Police officers lined up in rows outside the Capitol on Tuesday morning, awaiting the arrival of William Evans' body, spaced and distanced in front of the steps of the building.
Other officers and lawmakers, many double masked, gathered inside the Capitol rotunda and waited around an empty black podium.
The body neared the building shortly after 10:30 a.m., carried in a black hearse, surrounded by a parade of motorcycles and cars with flashing red and blue lights. The hearse passed bright white and red flowers near the entrance to the Capitol and drove by lines of police, who saluted as the vehicle passed.
Just before 10:40 a.m., the hearse pulled up directly in front of the East Front of the Capitol. At 10:55 a.m., the body, draped in an American flag, was removed from the hearse and carried toward the Capitol and up the stairs, one by one.
Evans' two young children, both hugging stuffed animals, waited at the top of the stairs. The children, Logan and Abigail, hugged their mother as the casket passed, before the family followed the procession into the Capitol.
9 a.m. — U.S. Capitol Police officer to lie in honor at the Capitol
William "Billy" Evans of North Adams lies in honor today in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, just 10 days after he was killed by an attacker outside the Capitol building.
President Joe Biden and congressional leaders will attend a midday ceremony for Evans, 41, who was killed April 2 when a vehicle rammed into him and another officer at a barricade just 100 yards from the Senate side of the Capitol.
The schedule, according to the U.S. Capitol Police:
10:30 a.m. — Ceremonial arrival
11 a.m. — Congressional tribute, limited to invited guests because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
12 p.m. to 6 p.m. — Viewing period for members of the U.S. Capitol Police and members of Congress
6:30 p.m. — Ceremonial departure
Evans’ death came just three months after a violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters blew past security barricades and attacked the Capitol, injuring dozens of Capitol Police officers. Officer Brian Sicknick died after engaging with the rioters, though officials do not yet know exactly what caused his death.
Sicknick and Evans are two of only six Capitol Police officers who have been killed in the line of duty in the force’s nearly 200-year history, according to the department.
Lawmakers, family and members of the police force will be invited to pay their respects to Evans after the ceremony with Biden and congressional leaders. He will be only the sixth person to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, a designation for those who are not elected officials, judges or military leaders.
Evans, who had two young children, was an 18-year veteran of the force. He was remembered by colleagues and friends as a man with a sense of humor who loved baseball and golf.
Members of his family said in a statement through the police earlier this month that most important in his life were 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,” the family said. “He was always so eager to show how proud he was of everything they did.”
The family said Evans was proud of his job and his friendship with colleagues near the “North Barricade” of the Capitol complex was one of the best parts of it.
“We hold them in our hearts, as we know they acutely share our grief,” they said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said on the Senate floor Monday evening that Evans was a “familiar and friendly face” at that barricade where he died, a gate that is frequently used by senators and staff. Durbin said the three deaths this year are an “incredible hardship” for the department and Congress owes them a debt that can never be repaid.
“Every day it is incumbent on those of us who work in this building to remember this officer, and to thank him, and the men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police who have given so much to keep us safe,” Durbin said.