Pelosi orders US Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff to honor fallen officer
(CNN) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the US Capitol to be flown at half-staff on Friday in honor of US Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans, who died after a suspect rammed a vehicle into a police barricade outside the Capitol building. Another officer has been injured.
"Today, America's heart has been broken by the tragic and heroic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes: Officer William Evans," said Pelosi. "He is a martyr for our democracy."
Both Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke with Evans' family Friday night. Pelosi sent a letter to lawmakers informing them that she had "conveyed our prayers and condolences" to Evans' mother, "with our offer of assistance" to her and Evans' children.
"May it be a comfort to Officer Evans and his family that America's flag flies at half-staff in his honor and in honor of the sacrifice of the entire Capitol Police force, and that the President has designated this honor for the White House and all federal buildings," Pelosi wrote in her "dear colleague" letter.
Schumer, according to a spokesperson, told family members that "the whole Senate mourns Billy's loss and appreciates his bravery. He also told Officer Evans's family they will forever be a part of our Capitol Hill community."
USCP acting chief Yogananda Pittman said the suspect crashed a car into a barrier outside the Capitol, "did not respond to verbal commands," and then started "lunging" toward the officers, who fired upon and killed him. The suspect has been identified as Noah Green, according to federal and local law enforcement sources.
Members of Congress honored the officers who served in the line of duty.
"I'm heartbroken for the family and loved ones of U.S. Capitol Police Officer William Evans who was killed today defending our Capitol. And I'm am praying for the other injured USCP officer and his family. We are in their debt," Schumer said in a statement. "We thank the Capitol Police, National Guard, and first responders for all they do to protect those who work at and visit the Capitol."
"Once again, brave officers of the United States Capitol Police have been violently attacked while simply doing their job," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. "I am heartbroken that Officer William F. Evans was killed in the line of duty defending the Capitol. His name will go down in history for his selfless sacrifice."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also called Evans' death "tragic and heartbreaking" in a statement. "Today, he responded quickly and bravely to a senseless attack. His heroic actions helped protect the Capitol and saved many lives. His service and heroism will always be remembered, and should be honored."
The attack comes just months after the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, when one Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, was killed. Two other officers involved in that response have since died by suicide, and dozens of other officers were injured.
Barbed wire fencing surrounding the Capitol complex has since been taken down, and thousands of National Guard troops have returned home. But thousands still remain due to lingering security concerns.
"Today's incident shows there is still a threat to the Capitol Grounds," Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin tweeted Friday.
"I ask you to please keep the United States Capitol Police family in your thoughts and prayers at this time," Pittman said. "It has been an extremely difficult and challenging year for us, but we will get through this."
This story has been updated with additional details.
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