Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans, who was killed in an attack outside the Capitol earlier this month, is lying in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, with President Biden and congressional leaders gathering to pay tribute to the fallen officer.
"I didn't know Billy, but I knew Billy," Mr. Biden said in remarks honoring Evans. "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 folks I grew up with, was incapable of saying no when you needed him."
Evans, the president said, "was defined by his dignity, his decency, his loyalty, and his courage."
While the ceremony honoring Evans was attended by top government officials and congressional leaders from both parties, the president directed his comments to Evans' wife and two children, who looked on as their father's casket lay in the Capitol Rotunda, telling them losing a family member is "like losing a piece of your soul."
"My prayer for all of you is that the day will come when you have that memory and you'll smile before it brings a tear to your eyes," he said.
As he returned to his seat at the conclusion of his remarks, the president appeared to give Evans' son, Logan, a presidential challenge coin.
An 18-year veteran of the Capitol Police force and member of its first responders unit, Evans was killed when a man rammed his vehicle into officers standing at a barricade outside the Capitol earlier this month. A second officer, Ken Shaver, was injured in the attack.
The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Noah Green, was shot by police after he exited his car and lunged at officers. He died at a local hospital.
Evans' body arrived at the Capitol's East Front just after 10:30 a.m., and members of the Capitol Police looked on as his casket, draped in an American flag, was carried up the steps into the Rotunda. A congressional tribute followed the arrival ceremony. Members of the Capitol Police and lawmakers were invited to attend a viewing starting at 12 p.m., and a ceremonial departure is set for 6:30 p.m.
In remarks honoring Evans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said he "joins a pantheon of heroes who have given their lives to defend this capitol, including on January 6."
Both Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed Evans' two young children.
"We are indebted to your dad," Schumer told them.
Evans, 41, is the second Capitol Police officer killed in the line of duty this year. Officer Brian Sicknick died after sustaining injuries in the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the Capitol Police Union, has warned both this month's attack an the January 6 riots have left members of the force "reeling."
Evans is just the sixth person to lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, joining Sicknick, civil rights icon Rosa Parks, the Reverend Billy Graham and Capitol Police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, who were killed in the line of duty in 1998.
In addition to Mr. Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and congressional leaders attended the memorial for Evans.