WASHINGTON -- A U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after a man rammed his car into him and another officer at a barricade was identified as an 18-year veteran of the force.
William “Billy” Evans joined the department in 2003 and was a member of its first responders unit.
“It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of Officer William 'Billy' Evans this afternoon from injuries he sustained following an attack at the North Barricade by a lone assailant," Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said. "Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years. He began his USCP service on March 7, 2003, and was a member of the Capitol Division’s First Responder’s Unit. Please keep Officer Evans and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed Evans as a “martyr for our democracy,” while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was “heartbroken.”
The death is the latest moment of sorrow for a department after the loss of Brian Sicknick, who clashed with rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection and died a day later, and Howard Liebengood, who committed suicide weeks later.
Pittman said Evans died and another officer was injured after being rammed by a vehicle outside the Capitol’s “north barricade barrier" shortly after 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Afterwards, police say the suspect exited the vehicle with a knife in hand, didn’t respond to verbal commands and appeared to lunge towards the officers. Police then fired at the suspect, who has now died.
Pittman said the two injured officers were transported to two different hospitals.
“And it is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumb to his injuries,” said Pittman.
Pittman asked the public to keep Capitol Police in their prayers.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of Jan. 6 and now the events that have occurred here today, so I ask that you keep our U.S. Capitol Police family in your thoughts and prayers,” said Pittman.
The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia will be investigating the incident. The department’s chief, Robert Conti, told reporters that there doesn’t appear to be an ongoing threat in the area.
“Obviously, we’re in the very early stages of our investigation. We need to obviously understand the motivation behind this senseless act, so the Metropolitan Police Department will be doing that,” said Conti.